Daily Egyptian

Judicial board rules on allegations of bias in USG funding board

By Francois Gatimu

The Undergraduate Student Government Judicial Board on Tuesday night delivered the findings of its investigation into the practices of the governing body’s funding board.

The judicial board, which was charged with investigating the funding board in February, found that no registered student organization had been given more or less funding based on its identifying factors.

“We have looked over the process and the numbers and determined there was no bias,” said Kelly Meloy, chief justice of the judiciary.

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Funding practices have been a topic of contention among USG senators, creating a divide over how much money the organizations should receive. While the funding board members were not found to be biased following the investigation, the judicial board found that the process itself was inherently biased.

The judicial board in their findings recommended “a more comprehensive and objective” procedure be developed for distributing funds.

Although funding procedures were tabled on Tuesday, a bill to revise the timeline for funding requests was introduced to “streamline the process,” according to Senator Will Schefelbein. 

With a remaining budget of roughly $24,000 for RSO event funding, some senators saw the problem lying solely on the indiscriminate increase of event funds for some student organizations and not others.

Senator Tomas Cortez, referencing an earlier bill that denied the Nepalese Students Society a $100 increase in event funding, categorized it as “hypocritical” to grant funding increases to other organizations.

This came after a motion was tabled to increase Tau Kappa Epsilon’s event funding from $900 to $1100 for an upcoming crawfish boil.

With the current trend of RSOs having their requested amounts cut by more than 50 percent, some viewed extemporaneous increases by senators during RSO presentations as biased.

“We just added funds for the Economics Club to go to Busch Stadium — why can’t we do the same?” said Colton Trina, who was for arguing to raise Tau Kappa Epsilon’s funding request.

Senator Marissa Jackson said most RSOs get on average of 54 percent of what they ask for and argued for uniformity.   

“We can’t give them more than 80 percent, this is USG money we have to use it fairly,” she said.

With the overwhelming majority sharing Jackson’s concerns, the senate moved not to raise Tau Kappa Epsilon’s funding request.

As the governing body’s fund reserves dwindle, Senator Kane Hudson said RSOs are bound to encounter stricter guidelines that don’t “bend the rules.”

Hudson equated the extemporaneous funding increases to “stealing from other RSOs and exacerbating the bias.”

Staff writer Francois Gatimu can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @frankDE28.

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