OU student organization denied university funding for travel

Clarification in appendix.

The Ohio Student Anthropology Society, or OSAS, organized a volunteer trip to a museum in New Straitsville as an experiential learning opportunity for its members, but its request for funding was denied by the Student Senate Appropriations Committee, or SAC.

SAC has specific policies in place to regulate the amount of money it is able to donate to Ohio University student organizations. At this time, OAC does not provide funding to organizations participating in non-competition travel.

“We get the money through student tuition, which is why we fund events that are open to the entire student body,” said Liz BeHage, chemical engineering graduate and SAC commissioner. “We don’t fund travel that is not intended for competitions because competitions… represent the school and students can go there, but travel elsewhere (is) closed to the student body.”

The Ohio Student Anthropology Society was not aware of this SAC rule before applying for funding, said Emma Lawrence, anthropology student and vice president of the Ohio Student Anthropology Society. Normally the club organized fundraisers for his trip to the museum when it took place in the spring, but as it was during the fall semester this year due to a partnership with the anthropology learning community. , he did not have enough time to collect the money.

“In the past, when funding our events, we requested emergency funding from SAC, and it was generally approved. That’s how we funded our New Year’s Eve party, ”said Lawrence. “But it was a little different situation because it was the first time that we asked for funding for a trip.”

OSAS had applied for funding from the SAC but was refused and referred to the Campus Involvement Center, or CIC. CIC was also unable to provide funds for the trip, Lawrence said, but university spokesperson Jim Sabin said CIC staff only process transactions and support not financially organizations. Additionally, she said the Experiential Learning Center was unable to provide funds, although Sabin said that office did not exist.

In the end, the club had to fund the trip itself and use the personal funds of Nancy Taterek, anthropology advisor to the learning community and associate professor of anthropology at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Both OSAS and Tatarek were surprised that the funding request was denied.

“If (SAC) starts to be picky about what they fund, I think they should fund things that fall under the mission of the university,” Tatarek said. “What I have heard in the past is that the university was trying to encourage outreach and community exchange with the greater Athens area.”

The SAC attributes the denial of funds to Senate rules and procedures which state that the SAC is unable to fund non-competition travel, unless provided for in the semi-annual budget of the SAC. organization.

The next semester, competitive travel will not be funded either, unless they are included in the organization’s semester budget. The SAC has provided an exception to the rule to comply with scheduling difficulties that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. This semester, an organization attending a competition is eligible for OAC funding of $ 150 per person or a total cap of $ 3,000 on travel expenses.

When COVID-19 started, SAC decided to fund travel to competitions every two weeks because many events could not be planned in advance for that semester, BeHage said. The OAC has made an exception for the fall semester only and, in the next semester, competition-based trips will need to be planned in order to receive funding from SAC’s semi-annual budget for the organization.

Lawrence is disappointed with the situation and thinks the SAC should offer options other than last-minute fundraising for out-of-competition travel expenses.

“It’s really frustrating because… they have this expectation (that) student organizations should engage with the community,” Lawrence said. “But how can we do that if we can’t afford to leave campus and (SAC) doesn’t support us? ”


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Clarification: A previous version of this article stated that Lawrence had stated that the CIC and the “Center for Experiential Learning” were unable to provide funds to OSAS. However, Sabin clarified that the CIC only processes transactions and does not support organizations financially and that the Experiential Learning Center does not exist. This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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