By Tom Ballard
The College boasts having more than 230 student organizations on campus. That’s 230 organizations comprised of responsible adults who should, in theory, be able to take responsibility for the actions of their organization. Leadership in these organizations can teach executive and general members alike valuable skills such as time management, event planning and accountability.
With that in mind, the College’s interim Student Organization Fundraising policy appears to dilute those benefits of organizational leadership. It robs them of the ability to make important decisions for the organizations that they care about in regards to fundraising, while also burdening them with unnecessary bureaucracy.
The new interim policy, which took effect on June 1 of this year, is meant to ensure that students are properly handling their fundraised income.
The new policy states that student organizations must complete an online form informing the Office of Student Involvement of any fundraisers that they plan to host on behalf of their organization or a third party. That approval form, which is currently a Qualtrics form that can be found on the Office of Student Involvement’s webpage, must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the proposed fundraiser.
Events that the policy expressed may be “more complicated” must allow for anywhere between 20 and 30 business days for approval.
Once the fundraiser’s income is collected, “all recognized student organizations must deposit their fundraising monies from approved fundraising activities in an account with the SFB” by the next business day and supply proof of deposit to the Office of Student Involvement within 10 business days of the fundraiser, according to the policy.
While I believe that this interim policy was crafted with the best of intentions, it pigeonholes organizations to follow a rigid and subjective system that potentially leaves the financial well-being of their organization up to the discretion of the Office of Student Involvement.
Rather than promoting accountability, I fear that this new policy will simply discourage student organizations from wanting to work with the Office of Student Involvement. Organizations — made up of students who must balance their extracurricular responsibilities with school work, family and friends — may simply decide to have fundraising events without the blessings of Student Involvement because the process is too time-consuming.
This has the potential to reap serious consequences as, according to the interim policy, organizations that fail to comply with the policy may have their registration status with the Division of Student Affairs temporarily suspended or denied.
Student Government and the Inter-Greek Council may also temporarily suspend privileges or derecognize any organization, and the Student Finance Board may deny or suspend current or future funding.
I believe that the College is a tight-knit community that values collaboration and fairness. By holding organizations to these rigid standards, organizations may find themselves discouraged to fundraise or cooperate with the offices that are meant to enrich and support them.
Student organizations benefit college campuses because they allow students to foster a sense of independence and kindred spirit with their peers. The College, by forcing student organizations to follow their form of bureaucratic accountability, limits the ability of each student organization to fundraise and govern as they see fit.
This piece is not meant to be seen as an attack on any specific office or individual. I do not believe that this policy was crafted to put student organizations at a disadvantage — I just believe that it is a misguided policy. I am concerned that it could hinder an organization’s ability to fundraise, and harm student-administration relations.
Students share opinions around campus
“Should the College regulate student organizations’ fundraising?”
“No. There’s no reason to put restrictions on it.”
“They should be able to do whatever they want because its their organization.”