A top GUSA official has proposed a major restructuring of student activities funding in an effort to give more decision making control to student leaders.

GUSA Chief Advisor for Internal Affairs Eric Lamar Rivers (COL ’02) offered a rough draft for revamping the Student Activities Commission in a letter to SAC commissioners during winter break. The proposal, as is stands now, would eliminate SAC, and other financial control boards for student organizations and replace them with one overarching financial board.

The Media Board, the Performing Arts Advisory Council, the Volunteer and Public Service Advisory Board and the Advisory Board for Club Sports comprise the remainder of the university’s control boards, which currently meet with organizations every few weeks to discuss and approve purchases and expenditures.

The proposal comes at the same time a group of students has mobilized an effort to restore an older form of student government with an integrated financial board, the Yard.

The single entity, called the Finance Board, created by the proposal, would be responsible for all of the budgeting for clubs, and would include committees which would specialize the budgeting process.

“With a student activity fee imminent, such a board will streamline the process and bring accountability as well,” Rivers wrote in the letter.

Aside from streamlining budgeting, Rivers said he was concerned about the policy issues the individual boards currently undertake. He noted that unlike SAC, many of the smaller budgeting boards are split evenly between students and faculty or administrators.

“No one doubts the purpose of the faculty members and administrators on the board as they offer years of experience and expertise in various areas. However, their voices can be heard through a non-voting, ex-officio seat,” he said. This is similar to how SAC currently operates, with no faculty members sitting on the committee.

The current proposal for the financial board sets its membership at 17 with six committees. The individual committees would review the budgets of student organizations each year. The board as a whole would then decide on each club’s budget, which they would send to the GUSA Representative Assembly as a recommendation. To avoid potential problems and politics, the assembly would be able to accept or decline the recommendations but not amend them.

“This serves as a check on the powers of the Finance Board,” Rivers said.

Rivers emphasized that the proposal is only a “rough draft” as it stands now, and he hopes to finalize his proposal after discussions with the various financial boards and GUSA representatives before submitting it to the assembly for a vote. The proposal is part of a comprehensive plan by Rivers that would modify the way GUSA and campus organizations work together through various new boards which would replace older, more bureaucratic procedures.

GUSA Communications Director J.P. Hornbeck (COL ’03) said that though this is a proposal by a member of GUSA, “It is not an official GUSA proposal.” According to Hornbeck, this is one of many proposals being considered by GUSA, collaborating with a committee setup by Vice President for Student Affairs Juan C. Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s committee, which was set up in October includes student leaders who are advising him on the situation surrounding these proposals and the current budgeting system, Hornbeck said.

A group of students promoting an effort to replace GUSA with a highly-integrated student-run government, similar to that which students disbanded in 1969, has also proposed a new system for handling the finances of student clubs and organizations. The Yard system would create a body of representatives from student classes and organizations which would allocate a share of the funding to each club. The system would also use a SAC-like system; however, it would rely on the representative assembly for final approval.

A failed 1995 attempt to replace GUSA with the Yard created a report of student organizations and their complaints, which the Yard also included along with their proposal for reform of the SAC system.

Leaders of the movement to bring back the Yard could not be contacted for comment.

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