The University of Maine General Student Senate revised and updated their own financial policies to clear up confusion for any club charging undergraduate students admission at GSS-funded, on-campus events, allocated an overall total of $21,086 to various organizations, including $11,810 to Alternative Spring Break and also granted recognition to five clubs — preliminary for four and final for one — during the body’s fourth meeting of the 34th session, Nov. 27, in the Memorial Union’s Bangor Room.
Improv Insanity, an improvisational group, performed for the GSS before the meeting began.
A total of $1,820 was allocated to pay the use tax, a substitute for sales tax imposed to reduce an imbalanced fairness with sales being made between different states. According to Maine.gov, large and common contributions to this payment include sales made over the Internet; if the vendor is not registered with Maine and does not charge Maine sales tax, a use tax must be imposed.
The Nutrition Club was also announced as the Club of the Month for November. President Jessica Aumier spoke on behalf of the club, thanking the GSS for its recognition.
Financial policies for club admission fee, charity donations amended
A debate over an allocation for Student Heritage Council arose during a Nov. 13 meeting: The topic of charging versus donating at events held by organizations with UMSG, Inc. money arose, spurring many senators to believe that a clear precedent must be set in order to further enforce compliance to the standing rules.
Vice President for Financial Affairs Raymond Updyke presented the resolution to the body, stating it would clear up the ongoing confusion.
“We can’t double-charge undergraduates,” Updyke said. “They already pay an activity fee.”
According to the original policies, clubs that charge admission to undergraduates at events wholly or partially funded by UMSG, Inc. “shall return the allocated funds that were advanced to them, up to the amount of total undergraduate ticket sales.”
The resolution amended this to read: “No undergraduate may be charged for admission for an on-campus event funded by UMSG, Inc.”
The penalty for an organization that breaks this rule is “an immediate one calendar year suspension of funding.”
Because the ruling only presides over events held on campus, a few senators, including Sen. Stanhope, questioned which areas of the UMaine community are on and off campus — specifically fraternity houses.
“[Executive Budgetary Committee] decides what is on and off campus,” Updyke said. “It’s pretty clear what is and isn’t, and we’ve never had a problem with this in the past.”
In addition to clearing up the admission fee dispute, the resolution further amended the rule to which no organization can allocate UMSG, Inc. funds for “charitable donations and acts of kindness greater than $50 in cash, other assets, or equity instruments.”
According to resolution’s statement of fact, it’s “the same as [UMSG, Inc.] indirectly donating to a charity and is an act of fraud, as Student Activity Fee funds are used indirectly to donate to charities.”
Alternative Spring Break, nine other clubs receive funding
Alternative Spring Break, the largest service organization on campus, received $11,810 for their eight upcoming winter and spring service trips to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Louisiana, which, in total, is expected to cost $31,969. According to the resolution, the allocated funds will be used solely for transportation, with $5,210 going toward vans and $6,600 toward airfare.
Despite it being one of the largest allocations of the year for UMSG, Inc., ASB nearly triples the amount with their fundraising. According to the resolution’s statement of fact, the club is expected to collect $27,000 in fundraising, which is $7,000 more than last year.
Club president and GSS senator Paige Eggleston, who spoke with vice president Morgan Kinney on behalf of the club, says all 11 members of ASB pay a club due of $200.
Muslim Student Association received $2,440 for their upcoming three-day trip to Toronto for the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention, Dec. 21 – 23. According to the resolution, the allocated funds will be used for lodging and transportation; hotels are expected to cost $1,440 and vans are expected to cost $1,000.
Club vice president Abdulraheem Sbayi, a third-year political science and pre-med student, spoke on behalf of organization alongside club president Nabeel Hashmi, stating that 12 undergraduates and one advisor would be attending the conference.
This resolution unexpectedly became one the most debated of the night because of hotel room accommodation issues. Because of the ratio of gender between the 12 undergraduates planning to go — six males, six females — it was proposed that one more hotel room should be funded so one of the three rooms wouldn’t house two males and two females.
After more than 20 minutes of discussion, the GSS came to a consensus that the group would have to come up with money for a fourth room on their own.
Muslim Student Association is expected to contribute $1,520 to the event and has plans to bring two speakers to the university after their trip to Toronto.
Catholic Student Association received $2,400 for their upcoming five-day trip to Orlando, Fla. for the Seek 2013 event, Jan. 2 – 6. According to the resolution, the allocated funds will be used for airfare, which is expected to cost the same amount.
According to club treasurer Hillary Morin, a second-year entomology student, the gathering only occurs every two years and Father Bill will be accompanying the 16 undergraduates expected to go.
Members of Students of the University of Maine in Technical Theater received $1,600 for their upcoming trip to Milwaukee, Wis. for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Annual Conference & Stage Expo from March 20 to 23. According to the resolution, the allocated funds will be used for lodging and transportation, with hotels expected to cost $400 and airfare expected to cost $1,200.
Club vice president Bradley Chelberg and treasurer Kaleigh Knights spoke on behalf of the organization, stating the trip happens every year. Eight undergraduates are expected to attend. UMaine’s theater program will be donating $1,000. SUMITT has also fundraised $200.
The Athletic Training Student Organization received $1,119 for their upcoming trip to Buffalo, N.Y. for the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Meeting and Clinical Symposium, Jan 4 to 7. According to the resolution, the allocated funds will be used for lodging and transportation, with hotels expected to cost $171 and airfare expected to cost $948.
Club treasurer Dianah Shelley spoke on behalf of the group, stating the Maine Coaching Center provided the club with $900 toward the trip, and they’ve already raised $250 from a raffle and “massage-a-thon.”
During VPFA Upkyke’s executive report, the third-year accounting and sustainable agriculture student announced five allocations under $1,000 given to five organizations: $770 to the International Affairs Association for the Model United Nations conference held in Montreal, Jan. 24 to 27; $571 to Mock Trial for the Temple University Mock Trial Tournament in Pennsylvania; $150 to both Sustainable Agriculture Enthusiasts and International Affairs Association; and $75 to the Ski & Snowboard Club for office budget.
Art & Design Collective receives final club recognition, three others also preliminarily recognized
Art & Design Collective, an organization “that promotes and increases awareness of the visual arts at UMaine and within the greater community,” received final recognition from the GSS.
Club president Monique Boutin, a third-year student, and vice president Jill Pelto, a second-year studio art and earth sciences student, spoke on behalf of the organization, telling of ways the club has connected with both students and the surrounding community and also expressing the way the group has helped members become better artists.
Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., an organization that seeks to develop connections in the industry and serve the UMaine community through service projects,” received preliminary recognition from the GSS.
Club president Kyle Orlando and vice president Nick Fournier spoke on behalf of ABC, a student chapter of the national organization.
According to Orlando, the group helps members get jobs in the construction business, crafting connections and resumes. The group is also in the process of beginning a tutoring program since the university doesn’t provide tutors for several important first- and second-year courses inside the civil engineering program.
Students Helping Honduras, an organization created to “build a movement of young leaders in order to empower orphaned and vulnerable children in Honduras,” received preliminary recognition from GSS.
Club president Kirsty Moriarty, a third-year microbiology student, spoke on behalf of SHH, a non-profit organization, stating the group, which consists of 23 committed students, will go to set locations in Honduras.
Moriarty, a transfer student from Clemson University, has previous experience with SHH.
Sen. Brunton brought up the question of danger and concern for students entering Honduras, but Moriarty assured the senator safety is first priority on trips with SHH; an armed guard is alongside the group at all times.
A few senators asked for clarification from Moriarty as to how SHH differed from a similar organization on campus, Central America Service Association. GSS advisor and former VPSO Hannah Hudson, president of CASA during her second-year at UMaine, explained that the groups are similar, but do service in separate locations.
Young Americans for Liberty, an organization created “to identify, educate, train and mobilize youth activist committed to ‘winning on principle,’” received preliminary recognition from the GSS.
Club president Cody Morgan, who spoke on behalf of YAL, faced a lot of criticism from the body for having similar group motives to Students for Liberty, a club preliminarily recognized seven weeks prior.
Morgan explained: “The difference between Students for Liberty is their group is a self-educated group — basically a book club or non-activist group.”