The Undergraduate Student Government senate unanimously passed a new set of financial bylaws at its Thursday meeting by a vote of 18-0-2, adding and changing definitions used in budgets for campus clubs and organizations.
The new bylaws distinguish between “apparel” and “performance wear.” Whereas “apparel” is “any items of clothing, including but not limited to shirts,” performance wear is “any item of clothing worn specifically for performances, exhibitions, and demonstrations without intent of promotion.”
“A lot of clubs such as Deja Vu, Cadence, Pocket Theatre, etc. have a really hard time operating under the current laws for apparel,” said Treasurer Kathryn Michaud. “A lot of clubs will want t-shirts and stuff like that to promote their club, but some need actual uniforms and costumes to put on their shows.”
Each club and organization cannot spend more than $1000 or 10 percent of their USG budget, whichever is less, on apparel. The same rule applies for performance wear.
The new bylaws also redefine “regional event” by loosening the requirement for such events to be “sanctioned by an organization or other governing body not affiliated with any particular university and includes representatives from multiple schools from within a defined region.” The older, stricter requirements prevented certain groups from receiving grants to travel to national or regional events.
“Not every club is a part of an external body or something like that,” Michaud said. “An example is the performances with the dance groups. There isn’t an overall organization that host conferences or schedules or orients everything.”
Under the new bylaws, reimbursements will not require preapproval from the USG treasurer, but reimbursements that have not been preapproved are “subject to the discretion of the USG Treasurer and are not guaranteed to be processed.”
“A lot of clubs have run into issues where they went on an off-campus trip and they spent money for gas or something and they didn’t submit the forms or they didn’t get prior approval,” Michaud said.
Both Michaud and President Pro Tempore Cody Pomeroy said that clubs and organizations should not make a habit of not getting reimbursements preapproved.
“I guess it’s a trust issue, but in the future I don’t know if this is really the right way to go because it gives clubs an excuse to not have the paperwork in,” Pomeroy said.
“Nobody should expect to get reimbursed for something from a different organization if they don’t get prior approval for it,”
The new bylaws also define food as “any item purchased for the purpose of consumption including beverages.”
The new bylaws also repeal the Contract Reform Act of 2011 and require that both the USG president and treasurer must sign contracts on the behalf of USG departments and agencies.
“There have been a couple of instances where a contract was signed off by the president and then the USG treasurer was not aware,” Michaud said. “So this way just ensures that the treasurer is aware of it and the president is aware of it.”
Under the new bylaws, USG cannot enter contracts for more than one fiscal year without senate approval.
President Garry Lachhar asked if the rules on contracts would affect USG’s “eight-year contract with Ludacris.”
College of Arts and Sciences Sen. Nathan Blazon-Brown clarified that Lachhar’s inquiry was sarcasm.