The University of Rhode Island Student Senate Finance Committee has made changes to its Finance Handbook. The Finance Handbook contains all of the financial policies and procedures as well as containing instructionals and budgeting advice.
Finance Chairwoman Sam King has enacted four main changes to the book. The first being that Student Senate will only fund up to 10 students to go to a conference. Older policies allowed Senate to pay for half the cost of the conference, regardless of how many students went.
“The big problem we’re running into is sports teams who are competing pretty regularly, especially going on national competitions and wanting 20 plus of their members,” King said. “Student Senate was not built to sustain competitive sports teams.”
Under the new policy, Senate will fund up to 50 percent of funding for only 10 students. However, King assures organizations that this does not mean you cannot send more students to conferences. King proposes that organizations should apply for the funding and then split the sum between all students. Currently, there are five sports organizations under Senate, powerlifting, fencing, club softball, club baseball and club soccer.
Generally, club sports start off under Senate and move to the Club Sports Intramural Council (CISC). However, CISC does not have enough money to sustain all the club sports and are currently not allowing any sport clubs to move in, thus keeping the organization’s stuck in Senate.
Another change to the Finance Handbook is funding for retreats. Previously, organizations got up to 50 percent funding to go on retreats as an organization. Now, under the new Handbook, organizations have to apply for retreat funding and go through levels of approval depending on the funding requested. For any requests under $250, the Senate Treasurer can sign off on it. For requests between $250 to $1000, the Senate Executive Committee has to approve it and anything $1,000 or more, Student Senate as a whole has to approve of it.
The reason for the levels of approval is to provide a checks and balances system. “No one person is allowed to just say, ‘yeah sure take that much money,’” King said. “This is no way a reflection of [Senate’s] abilities or my trust in them, I just think this is a safer practice with dealing with Student Senate tax dollars.”
The other changes to the Handbook are changes to what constitutes adequate advertising. Before there were no guidelines, but now there is a checklist of guidelines and organizations must meet three or more for it to be considered adequate advertising.
The last change is increasing the accessibility of the Handbook. There is now a hyperlinked table of contents to make it easier to find relevant information.
“We are all students,” said King. “And no one wants to have to read through a 30 page document.” Other changes are visual representations of information, like providing tables to provide clear and easy-to-read information.