USG distributes funding to clubs

Written By Alexander Popichak , Editor-in-Chief

Club leaders filled Monday’s United Student Government (USG) meeting as the legislative body deliberated the first quarter of club funding.

In total, the legislative body granted $20,489.84 of the $35,459.23 requested to clubs for use through the first half of the fall semester.

“Friday’s funding meeting was a long and difficult process as it always is; the funding committee did its best to distribute funds as fairly as possible,” USG Treasurer Josh Croup said while giving his treasurer’s report.

The finance committee, which is tasked with making funding recommendations, was repeatedly called on by club leaders to explain the rationale behind its budget allowances.

The vast majority of funding reductions fell within USG’s established internal funding guidelines. The finance committee funded half of the food for an event. Additionally, the legislative body denied all requests for food at regular meetings as well as apparel. However, requests for uniforms were permitted.

One discussion revolved around the Criminal Justice Club’s proposed “Point Park Police Appreciation” event. The finance committee recommended funding for half the cost of a cake club leaders were proposing to gift to campus police. At the center of the discussion was the question of whether or not the cake qualified as event food – warranting half funding by USG guidelines – or if it was a gift – usually awarded in full.

“We have to stay consistent, and we have to do something to keep that consistency,” Sen. Hayley Hoffman said.

The club’s president successfully argued that the cake was more a “symbol” than food for an event. President Pro-Tempore Daniel Murphy moved to amend the budget and grant the full cost of the cake, with senators Hoffman and Samiar Nefzi opposing.

Approved line items included four plane tickets to a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) conference, a $1,000 subsidy to offset the costs of attending the Jubliee religious conference and $3,325 towards a Phi Beta Lambda leadership conference in New Orleans.

Some line items were eliminated entirely from the budget as they fell outside of the scope of the current funding period.

Club leaders who wish to appeal funding decisions have until Friday to contact Croup to submit a formal funding appeal.

The legislative body also amended an established funding guideline creating an emergency fund within the USG internal fund. USG traditionally sets apart a portion of its $10,000 semesterly internal budget for use as an emergency fund. It is used in the event that clubs spend more than their allocation or – as was the case in the spring of 2016 – unbudgeted costs are incurred by the legislative body.

The new guideline raises the required allotment range from $200-to-$1,500 to $700-to-$3,000. Rules committee members explained the motive for the increase was based on previous funding data and the extrapolation of a what-if scenario.

“There is money built into the internal budget outside of the emergency funds that could be disposable,” Nefzi said.

During the meeting, seven senators were sworn in to the legislative body. Five freshmen senators were inducted prior to the start of the meeting after they won their respective elections. Additionally, Patrick Terry was appointed as a Senator-at-large and Megan Ortego was appointed to represent the Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA.)

This also marked Sen. Daniel Murphy’s first regular legislative body meeting as President Pro-Tempore. The President Pro-Tempore serves as an intermediary between the Executive Cabinet Members and the legislative body. Additionally, the President Pro-Tempore oversees the coordination of senators’ office hours.

Murphy was elected to the position during an emergency meeting held Thursday evening in the USG office.

“I’m excited on what can be created and how to make this position my own and leave a positive impact on USG,” Murphy said following the meeting.

Murphy has been involved with USG since being elected to represent COPA his freshman year. 

In addition to consideration of club funding appeals, next week’s meeting will feature Jeffrey Besong, Point Park Chief of Police as a guest speaker.

Disclosure: USG Treasurer Josh Croup serves as Co-Sports Editor for the Globe

Additional reporting contributed by Hannah Walden, Copy Editor.