The system for student organization funding will be restructured following a lawsuit from the Young Americans for Freedom, which settled the suit for $66,000 from UF.
At least 70 students came out to Tuesday night’s Student Senate meeting to protest the new funding system for student organizations.
Representatives from Pride Student Union, Black Student Union, Asian American Student Union and some of its sub-organizations spoke in front of the Senate during public comment.
For an organization to receive funding from SG, it must:
- Register, or be in the process of registering, with the Department of Student Activities and Involvement
- Be a sponsored organization, which means it receives support from another university entity or faculty/staff member
- Not charge membership fees
- Have at least 10 active members
If all qualifications are met, the organization can contact SG Finance to begin the funding request process.
The major change from the previous structure is all the big organizations with multiple sub-organizations beneath them were forced to break up. This means the sub-organizations will also have to apply for funding, whereas before it was allocated through the overarching organization.
Eliana Guerrero, president of Asian American Student Union, said the organization wasn’t able to get its funding request for the welcome assembly turned in early enough because it was partnering with Asian American Student Assembly and its Freshman Leadership Program to fund the event.
However, Asian American Student Assembly and Freshman Leadership Program’s new member approval forms for funding weren’t approved until July 17, two days after the Allocations Committee ran out of funding for requests.
They received a phone call Thursday informing them the Welcome Assembly request couldn’t be funded.
Guerrero said Asian American Student Assembly started a GoFundMe to help pay for the Welcome Assembly. As of Wednesday night, the page had raised $2,000 of its $12,000 goal.
“We feel there’s such a huge lack of communication from Senate, and we feel that our needs weren’t heard,” Guerrero said.
The Asian American Student Union was not the only “Big 9” organization affected.
Pride Student Union previously funded The Queer Cultivation Program, Pride Awareness Month and Out in STEM from its budget each semester, but now each sub-organization needs to submit its own funding request.
Nate Quinn, president of Pride Student Union, said he also received a phone call Thursday. Allocations Committee Chairwoman Sam Girschick told him the budget for Fall semester had run out.
Girschick said any event requests submitted after July 15 would not receive funding.
Quinn said this meant Pride Student Union would not be able to fund its guest speaker for Pride History Week in October because one of the Pride Student Union’s co-organizations, The Queer Cultivation Program, that was supposed to help sponsor the event didn’t get its event request in before July 15.
The speaker Pride Student Union was trying to bring to UF was Schuyler Bailar, the first openly transgender Division One athlete.
“I am doing everything I can to make this still happen, but I’m no longer hiding who the speaker is, due to how important it is,” Quinn said. “Then other people can see what kind of opportunities are being lost due to this change.”
Girschick said the committee allocated about $200,000 for event requests from organizations for the Fall semester, and because organizations tend to host bigger events in the Spring, the budget for the fiscal year is split about 41 percent and 59 percent between Fall and Spring semesters.
She said student organizations were allowed to start making budget requests on July 1 and funding is given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Girschick said she is looking into other options for allocating more money to try and accommodate organizations that need it.
“I will be discussing with the finance manager if there are any options for this semester,” Girschick said. “Otherwise, I will be looking to the Spring semester to see if any changes could be made.”
Kevin Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese Student Organization, speaks during the public comment part of the UF Student Government Senate meeting on Aug. 6. Nguyen began by stating things SG members all have in common. He said that they were all Gators, all served in the Senate and all could make a difference. “We all have the potential to do something great,” Nguyen said.