ASUW audit reveals weaknesses of financial policy

The ASUW logo. (Photo taken from the UW website)

ASUW audited about 18 RSOs because of suspicions regarding RSO funding and the ASUW Finance Policy being violated in December of 2017, causing ASUW to take action and create Senate Bill 2593, which will alter Article III in the ASUW Finance Policy.

Article III’s subject matter pertains to ASUW’s RSO Funding Board, outlining specific steps that RSOs need to take in order to receive funding for an event or conference from ASUW.

A few of the broken guidelines, such as RSOs being required to include disability accommodations in their advertising, were due to a miscommunication between the Campus Activities Center and ASUW RSO guidelines. This guideline was added recently, so it was not included in RSO education.

The RSO Funding Board is a committee within ASUW that allocates and divides up funds for RSO events or possible conferences that members of the RSO may want to attend. For example, at their meeting last Monday, the Young Republicans sought out funding from ASUW so that they could attend the Conservative Political Action Conference. Since this committee is important to RSOs, ASUW wants to ensure that the financial policy is just for every RSO.

“We all see a desperate need for a change in the finance policy, make it fair, make it less vague,” Alex Mulhall, chair of the RSO Funding Board, said. “We’re going to make sure that we’re being fair and that we have specific processes that ensure we’re being fair.”

ASUW’s goal with SB 2593 is to eliminate vague lines and reorganize Article III of the ASUW Financial Policy, so that in the future, miscommunications and misunderstandings between RSOs and ASUW can be effectively avoided.

“Through the audit, one of the things that came through the legislative branch was that it had become, over time, lengthy and confusing,” ASUW President Ben Wetzel said.

One of the suggested amendments to Article III stated in SB 2593 is to offer probation status for more minor infractions rather than simply suspension for future broken guidelines. This flexibility would allow RSOs to be educated about what was done wrong so that they do not incur a penalty regarding ASUW’s funding policy in the future.

“It [SB 2539] is proposing a new style of the suspension clause,” Mulhall said. “The new one has a chart including major infractions and minor infractions and there’s a process for probation and a suspension.”

Tim Nelson, chapter president of Turning Point USA (an RSO mentioned in the audit for infringing on ASUW financial policy guidelines) said, “The new bill is very clear with what it wants to do and that’s to differentiate between major and minor infractions. The reason they are voting on it next week is to revise some of the language, make it legitimate and get it correct the first time, so that the RSOs and the student senate are completely clear on what the finance policy is regarding funding for RSO-held events. I’m happy they [ASUW] are taking this seriously.”

 

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