UPAC Allows Exceptions, Forgoes 100% Funding
After the quickest policy meeting in my time at Penn State, the University Park Allocation Committee voted to allow exceptions to the 90/10 rule. The proposal, written by sub-chair Jesse Scott and endorsed by the Leadership Team, grants groups that prove they actively fundraised but failed to raise enough money the possibility to request to receive funds that exceed UPAC’s ninety percent limit. The organization must provide documentation that they had reached out to businesses and potential donors, or, if it is an annual program, that their benefactors no longer supported them. Groups would need to fill out a new form that they would present during their normal allocation hearing. The clause does not go into effect until the 2012-2013 academic year, since all policy changes in UPAC take effect the folowing year.
According to Overall Chair, Ryan Kocse, several groups have complained that the new 90/10 rule did not assist them at all, as they still could not collect the donations needed to put on events. Therefore, Kocse insists that this new policy ought to benefit these clubs and organizations. However, members of SOMA (Students Organizing the Multiple Arts) who were in attendance last night did not endorse the modification. Ryan Purcell, a general member, said that requiring groups to find money to put on events is unfair and does not make sense because students have already paid into the Student Activity Fee. Purcell argued that UPAC should fund programs one hundred percent.
However, most committee members did not agree with Purcell’s explanation. Devon Edwards (who is also an Onward State editor) put forth that if UPAC fully financed events (excluding prohibited items such as food and door prizes), the Student Activity Fee would no longer exist for functions at the end of the year. Not only that, he mentioned that UPAC already requires organizations to explain how they intend to finance their programs through non-UPAC sources. Furthermore, Edwards argued that it was too soon to determine the extent that the new 90/10 policy has had, and that the committee should wait one year to judge its usefulness. Meanwhile, the proposed exception would be flexible and would work on a case-by-case basis. Other members stated that the 90/10 policy requires groups to be fiscally responsible with their purchases.
Kaitlin Komeleski noted that Commonwealth campuses do fund student organizations’ programs one hundred percent. Kocse contended this happens because University Park students don’t pay as much into the Student Activity Fee as Commonwealth students do. Be that as it may, it was not too long ago that UPAC did fund programs fully. According to Galen Chelko, one of UPAC’s advisers, that procedure existed until 2007, when the then-Vice President for Student Affairs required UPAC to go before the Funding Allocation Board in order to access the Student Activity Fee. This onerous process slashed the amount of money that UPAC could allocate, and UPAC’s Leadership Team enacted the 80/20 rule to limit the funds that it distributed. Although the Vice President left and the Funding Allocation Board disbanded, the 80/20 rule remained, eventually turning into the 90/10 rule.