The Student Supreme Court went into session to discuss the constitutionality of ensuring that certified student organizations receive funding in an efficient manner.
The session is a result of a memo sent by Sen. Evan Bailey, who serves as the senate’s judicial and rules chair and parliamentarian. The memo to the Student Supreme Court requests for an opinion of the intent of Chapter 709.1 of the System of Student Body Statutes, which states:
“All clubs and organizations must submit a complete, typed, detailed budget request to the SGA Senate Organization and Finance Committee (OFC) in the term in which funding is being requested. The request must be submitted 7 weeks prior to the day money is required. If the application is not received in a timely manner, funds cannot be guaranteed at the requested time and approval will be left to the discretion of the SGA Senate OFC.”
This seven-week span poses an ongoing issue for the senate and student organizations. Bailey is striving to mend the dilemma.
A few students were in attendance to hear how the statute affects the distribution of their A&S fees.
“I can attest that many times student representatives try too hard to appear well versed in the documents to the point where they forget that these documents are here to serve and protect the students that elected them,” said Maurice Jackson, a third-year accounting student from Miami. “I believe that the meeting rendered no change or momentum in any specific direction. I personally believe that changes do need to be made to documents that govern the handling of finances.”
Organizations often struggle to obtain an interview with senators due to the extensive protocol that needs to be fulfilled to obtain funding.
“This has been an ongoing problem for A&S fee-funded organizations,” Bailey said during the course of the session. “In an era where flights, hotels, keynote speakers and artists must be booked far in advance, it was disheartening to see organizations turned away over a simple misinterpretation.”
The Supreme Court decided that the intent of statute 709.1 was not to prohibit students from obtaining funding in the first seven weeks of the semester but that it was to prevent them getting funding twice in a semester.
“There’s an issue of getting funds to the student body and eliminating certain barriers, and we have to get rid of unnecessary roadblocks,” said Louis Jean-Baptiste, Student Supreme Court chief justice. “It’s their money. Let them use it. By having the first full court in a while, we were extremely diligent in our decision.”
Thus by delivering this decision, student organizations will be able to secure funding at the end of one semester for the beginning of the next.