A panic over funding has defined the start of the year for many UF organizations — but some are confused on who brought about the change: UF or Student Government?
After recent organization classification changes over summer from the university, Student Government revised allocated funding for organizations. The revisions are scheduled to be voted on at the Sept. 27 Student Senate meeting.
Effective July 1, student organizations are now classified as either General Registered Student Organizations or University Sponsored Student Organizations, according to UF Student Activities and Involvement. Along with this change in classification, there could be changes to the amount of funds and resources certain organizations receive.
As of Monday, The Alligator has not received formal comment from Student Government officials.
Senators will read the bill for a second time at Tuesday’s Senate meeting. The bill’s meant to revise SG codes to match UF Student Activities and Involvement regulations, which state GRSOs can receive funding from SG but no support from university departments. USSOs cannot request funds from SG, but can use resources and funds from university departments.
Prior to the classification change, most organizations were classified as registered student organizations (RSOs). Comparable to GRSOs, these organizations could receive SG funding and weren’t considered university entities. However, most of these organizations still used university resources, such as using classroom space, while receiving SG money.
The updated bill language is to match with UF SAI and to match, classify and clarify all of the classifications of organizations on campus, said Budget and Appropriations Chairwoman Catherine Giordano (Gator-District A) at the Sept. 20 Senate meeting.
The bill is also intended to prevent organizations from using double the resources they’re allocated.
If the bill is passed, critics say many student organizations will lose most of their funding and resources starting Spring 2023. This could eventually result in organizations disbanding.
Some student leaders are confused about the state of their organizations from the alleged lack of transparency and communication from the university and SG.
UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan said the new guidelines may seem confusing at first but will be more consistent with university guidelines.
“While we understand the change may lead to some initial confusion, we believe this new framework will provide clarity and consistency for student organizations and university administrators while meeting the guidelines and policies of the university,” Roldan said.
When it was time to apply for new classifications, students were unaware of what these changes meant for the future of their organizations. Jack David, a 20-year-old UF environmental engineering junior, experienced confusion after hearing Gator Motorsports, a team of student engineers that competes against 120 teams from all over the world, would now be registered as an USSO.
There was no formal communication to organizations, faculty and students, David said.
“It was so poorly communicated,” David said. “My faculty advisor and the department didn’t know what was happening. The Student Activities Involvement office barely knew what's happening,”
The UF Liquid Propulsion Development Team is another USSO organization potentially impacted by these changes, said club president David Delgado, a 20-year-old aerospace engineering junior. Due to the classification changes, Delgado’s team decided to forfeit SG funds because it needed the engineering department’s equipment and space.
“We found out that because so many student teams decided to only rely on the department’s resources, we’re told that the department now doesn’t have enough money to fund all the teams,” Delgado said.
David and Delgado are worried about the future of their organizations because they both rely on university space and SG funding to fully function.
“Student design teams like Gator Motorsports need university space, so they had to pick the no SG funding option,” David said. “Without funding, our team will die in the next two to three years.”
Other students, like David and Delgado, plan to advocate for the futures of their organizations by speaking to UF officials and speaking at the Senate meeting Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be at the Reitz Union in the Senate Chamber.
Contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @grunewaldclaire.
Claire Grunewald is a third-year journalism major and the Santa Fe reporter for The Alligator. When she is not writing or reading, she's looking for new music or going to the beach.