Why is the money all gone?
The University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) held its regularly scheduled board meeting Feb. 25. As with prior meetings, funding of various campus groups was discussed. With funds depleted in the official campus group budget line, motions regarding campus group funding have led to increased debate.
First, URSU entertained a presentation from the Indigenous Students’ Association (ISA). The ISA is hosting a “Bringing Youth With Elders” Round Dance to be held in March, and is requested $3,500 from URSU, to be debated at a later board meeting. The ISA made a decision to search for funding from sources internal to the U of R. This decision was made as it was thought to increase the ISA’s independence. The ISA representatives said that their goal was to “increase non-aboriginal attendance” this year, adding that the ISA “welcomes and encourages non-aboriginal members.”
Next, several motions were debated. The first motion regarded an updated campus group policy. The policy changes mostly affected student groups. The change affecting most clubs will be a stipulation that clubs “must use the word ‘Club’ in their name and must not use the words ‘Society,’ ‘Union,’ or ‘Association’ in their name.” This change was made to address differing definitions. For example, societies are tied to federated colleges or departments, whereas clubs are not. In their day-to-day operations, the clubs may choose to drop the word club, however, the word ‘club’ will be in their official name. The policy also standardized executive titles as Vice President Financial and Operations; Matthew Mutschler found that many clubs “were using ridiculous titles” for their executive. The motion passed unanimously.
The student club policy was followed by two late additions to the agenda. Several funding requests under the amount necessary to bring to the board were approved under the student groups’ line. However, as the line is currently depleted, the policy on financial matters mandates such motions be brought to the board.
The first such motion regarded the English Students’ Association’s (ESA) Trash Talkin’ Conference. For the Conference, the ESA requested financial support to the tune of $1,000. However, the ESA did not provide a budget breakdown. President Devon Peters commented, “In the executive meeting, my first inclination was to say no.” Stevan Mihka, the Engineering director, argued, “The ESA wouldn’t know that URSU was going to burn through money.”
After further debate, which included board members talking over each other, the board eventually reached a consensus that the motion should be defeated, and the ESA be contacted to explain that funding is distributed on a first-come first-served basis, and to recommend that they provide a budget breakdown. The motion was defeated unanimously.
Next, URSU debated a funding request from the Geology Club to attend the Prospectors and Developers Conference in Toronto. The club asked for $1,050. This would amount to $75 per student, and the students in question would still contribute $200 of their own. Similar requests granted have been for $100 per student to finance conference attendance.
Mutschler then updated the board on the campus group line, which was $1,200 over budget before the geology motion. He then updated the board on the club funding line, which URSU has been using to cover the shortfall. It contains an additional $3,500. Mutschler also noted that several other funding motions had been received, which means they will be subject to severely limited finds. Eventually, URSU passed the motion.
The next board meeting will be March 10 at 5:30.