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FINANCE & APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
The mission of the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) is to safeguard the interests of the student body and work for realistic, positive change on campus. With this mission in mind GUSA must now take on the matter of the Student Activities Endowment (the “Endowment”). In 2001, the student body through referendum established a semesterly Student Activities Fee. Each year a committee comprised of 7 GUSA Senators and 6 other student leaders allocated half of the fee towards student activities and student life. The other half of the fee was automatically placed into an Endowment. The Endowment was comprised of purchased shares of the greater Georgetown University endowment and therefore subject to the successes and failures of Georgetown’s investments. The intent behind placing half of the student fee money into an endowment was logical. Students in 2001 hoped that within 10 years the endowment would grow to approximately $10 million at which point the interest earned off of the endowment would make it selfsufficient and replace the semesterly fee paid by students. The policy was meant to demonstrate careful, long-term planning. However, it was not successful. The current value of the Endowment is approximately $3.4 million, which is far below where it should be today. This is because of a number of factors. First, in 2001 there was a general understanding that the University would contribute $3 million to the Endowment as part of its $1 billion Third Century Campaign. Unfortunately, this fundraising campaign struggled and the Endowment never received the needed boost of school funding. Second, in 2008 the economy went into recession and the growth of the University endowment slowed, which greatly affected the Activities Endowment. Third, the original plan for the Endowment was too optimistic and did not plan for likely problems. This is why no other peer institution has a similar endowment. Best practices tell us to
allocate all revenue each year. The goal of reaching $10 million in 10 years was likely never possible. It may take an additional 10 years or more for the Endowment to grow to $10 million. Furthermore, if the Endowment was at $10 million today it would likely only generate approximately $300,000 to be allocated for student life. This is simply not enough money. In the last budget cycle GUSA allocated nearly $400,000 to student programs, and the need was still much higher. The FinApp Committee estimates that actual financial need of student life is around $800,000. This is far above what the Endowment could generate even if the original policy was successful. It is clear that the concept of a Student Activities Endowment should no longer be pursued. Therefore, responsibility falls to the GUSA Finance & Appropriations Committee to resolve what is done with the remaining $2 million in the Endowment. However, this matter is too large and encompassing for only the seven members of the Finance & Appropriations Committee to handle. Therefore, the Committee is establishing the “Commission on Student Activities Endowment Reform” to undertake this issue. This issue is best handled outside the FinApp Committee while it is busy implementing the recent SAFE Reform measures and therefore unable to dedicate the necessary time to such an involved matter. Lastly, the issue of what to do with the remaining Endowment money should be considered by a broad range of interested parties and representatives from across the Georgetown community. The goal of the Endowment Commission is to thoroughly research the issue of the Endowment, listen to all ideas on how the money should be spent, and ultimately create a proposal to be presented to the Finance & Appropriations Committee for consideration. The FinApp Committee will then consider the Commission’s proposal, make necessary amendments, and then present a final plan to the full GUSA Senate. The Senate would then order a campus wide referendum to adopt the proposal. 3
GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND VALUES
In establishing this Commission, the GUSA Senate Finance & Appropriations Committee is giving it a clear mission: come up with a comprehensive proposal to allocate the entirety of the Student Activities Endowment, leaving no funds unaccounted for and finally resolving this matter. In accomplishing this goal, the Commission is to strictly follow these core principles: Money spent from the Endowment must go to projects/programs that either affect or are open to the entire student body. The money in the Endowment comes from contributions of students over many years. All students paid the fee and therefore the Endowment should benefit all students or go to programs available to all undergraduate students. Money spent from the Endowment must go to projects that will have a lasting impact. The money collected over many years of the fee should not be spent on a one-time event or project. Instead, the proposal should affect students for at least 10 years forward. All ideas and options must be considered. The Commission should listen to all ideas, interests, groups and students in forming its proposal(s). Multiple initiatives may be proposed as part of a package. The Endowment money need not all be spent on a single project/program. The Commission may propose in its final report allocating money to multiple things, but no more than five. The Commission must be deliberate, but speedy. The Commission must take a reasonable amount of time in crafting its proposal, but a final plan must be submitted to the Finance & Appropriations Committee by April 25, 2011.
BY-LAWS AND OPERATING PROCEDURES
SECTION I: Functions, Objectives, Organization and Operation The functions of the Commission are advisory only. Its objective is to create a single proposal or multiple proposals that spend the entirety of the Student Activities Endowment. The Commission shall vote on the approval of a final report containing a proposal or a set of proposals for spending the Student Activities Endowment money. There may be no more than 5 proposals included in the final report. The final report must be thorough, explaining in detail each of the proposed ideas. The issuance of a final report by the Commission shall require the approval of not less than 13 of the 17 members of the Commission. The final report must be submitted to the GUSA Finance & Appropriations Committee no later than April 25, 2011. SECTION II: Members The Commission shall be composed of 17 undergraduate members who shall be selected as follows: 1. One member appointed by and representing the Corp; 2. One member appointed by and representing the Credit Union; 3. One member appointed by and representing the Student Activities Commission; 4. One member appointed by and representing the Club Sports Advisory Board 5. One member appointed by and representing the Center for Social Justice Advisory Board to Student Organizations; 6. One member appointed by and representing the Georgetown Program Board; 7. One member appointed by and representing the Media Board; 8. One member appointed by and representing the Performing Arts Advisory Council; 9. One member appointed by and representing the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access;
10. One member appointed by and representing the GUSA Executive; 11. The GUSA Finance & Appropriations Committee Chair; 12. One member appointed by and representing the GUSA Senate; 13. One member appointed by and representing the GUSA Senate; 14. One member selected by the FinApp Committee and representing the general student body (this student must be reasonably removed from the other organizations represented on the Commission); 15. One member selected by the FinApp Committee and representing the general student body (this student must be reasonably removed from the other organizations represented on the Commission). 16. One member selected by the FinApp Committee and representing the general student body (this student must be reasonably removed from the other organizations represented on the Commission). 17. One member selected by the FinApp Committee and representing the general student body (this student must be reasonably removed from the other organizations represented on the Commission). If an organization chooses not to appoint a member to the Commission, the FinApp Committee shall fill the position with a student from the general student body who is not in GUSA. SECTION III: Meetings 1. In General. The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chair and with the approval of the appointed faculty advisor. An official meeting consists of a quorum of the Members (including the Chair) then serving on the Commission. The faculty advisor shall approve all the Commission’s meetings and ensure compliance with these by-laws and operating procedures. The faculty advisor is not required at each meeting of the Commission but should periodically attend and when possible. The Chair will preside at all meetings of the Commission with the assistance of the Vice 6
Chair. The GUSA FinApp Chair shall serve as the Commission Vice-Chair. The Chair may specify the use of rules of parliamentary procedure consistent with the by-laws. 2. Notice. The Commission will publish notice of each meeting on the GUSA public website at least 2 days before the meeting, unless there are exceptional circumstances in which case the reason will be included on the GUSA public website’s notice. The notice will include (1) the time, date, place, and purpose of the meeting; (2) a summary of the agenda and/or the topics to be discussed; (3) a statement as to whether all or part of the meeting will be open to the public and, if any part is closed, a statement as to why; and (3) the name and contact information for the designated contact person for the meeting. 3. Agenda. The Commission Chair or secretary will distribute the agenda to the Members before each meeting and will make copies available to the public. Items for the agenda may be submitted to the Chair, who is responsible for writing it. 4. Quorum. A quorum will consist of 13 members (including the Chair) then serving on the Commission. The Chair if approved by the faculty advisor ahead of the meeting can make special exceptions to quorum. Exceptions made to quorum must be recorded in meeting minutes. 5. Voting. A member must attend a Commission meeting either in person or by telephone to cast a vote. When a decision or recommendation of the Commission is required, the Chair will request a motion for a vote. Any Member may make a motion for a vote. The approval of any motion must require a majority vote in the affirmative. However, the final issuance of a report requires a supermajority vote of not less than 13 of the 17 members of the Commission. 6. Open Meetings. All meeting shall be open to the public unless otherwise specified by the chair, in consultation with the faculty advisor. 7. Hearings. The Commission may hold hearings to receive testimony or oral comments, recommendations, presentations, and expressions of concern from the public. The Commission may hold hearings at open meetings or in closed session. The Chair of the Commission may specify reasonable guidelines and procedures 7
for conducting orderly hearings, such as requirements for submitting requests to testify or present, requiring written testimony beforehand, and placing limits on the number of person who may testify and the duration of their testimony. The Chair may grant any person to come before the Commission. Any rejection of a request by the Chair must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Commission. 8. Minutes. The Commission secretary will prepare minutes of each meeting and submit them to the Chair after each meeting for certification of their accuracy. Minutes of each meeting shall be made public and posted online. Minutes must include the individual breakdown by member of votes by the Commission. SECTION IV: Officials 1. Chair. The Chair of the Commission is selected by the GUSA Finance & Appropriations Committee. The Chair must be a voting member of the Commission, but cannot be a current member of either the GUSA Senate or Executive. 2. Vice-Chair. The Chair of the GUSA Finance & Appropriations Committee is ex officio the Vice-Chair for the Commission. The Vice-Chair may assist the Commission Chair in leading meetings and in other duties as requested by the Chair. 3. Secretary. The Secretary of the Commission is decided by majority vote by Commission members. The Secretary must be nominated and the nomination may be accepted or declined. The Secretary must be a member of the Commission. 4. Faculty Advisor. The GUSA Faculty advisor shall act as the ex officio Endowment Commission Faculty Advisor. SECTION V: Subcommittees The Chair of the Commission, in consultation with the faculty advisor and Vice-Chair, has the authority to create such subcommittees and appoint members as necessary for the 8
Commission to conduct its work. The Chair of the Commission will be an ex officio member of each subcommittee. Only members of the Commission will have the right to vote or make a motion for a vote in a subcommittee. No subcommittee will have any authority to propose anything to the full GUSA Senate or other organization. The subcommittees may be formed, for example, to better study or develop specific proposals for spending the Endowment money. SECTION VI: Expenses The Commission shall have a discretionary budget of $250 for such things as printing and supplies. The Chair, in consultation with the faculty advisor, may allocate the money as needed. SECTION VIII: Amendments Amendments to these by-laws may be made by a majority vote of the GUSA Finance & Appropriations Committee. The Commission may not change its own by-laws or operating procedures without the approval of the GUSA Finance & Appropriations Committee.
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