Kori Hoffmann, the assistant vice president of student affairs, announced at the March 30 Student Senate meeting that the Senate is no longer able to make charitable donations due to policy change from the University’s finance office.
Hoffmann said he was informed of this change from the finance office last week, but he was still unclear on what exactly this policy change means for the donations Student Senate is allowed to give.
“I feel like the rules are constantly changing for us as professionals, and they are constantly changing for student organizations as well,” Hoffmann said. “Basically us being able to appropriate philanthropy dollars may not be allowed anymore.”
Kirayle Jones, Student Senate president, said that not being able to give out these donations to student organizations could have a huge impact on if those organizations are able to continue running.
“We see big service-based organizations come in, notably St. Jude, and they function off of donations,” Jones said. “So these charitable donations that get cut from the daily activities of Student Senate will then impact those other organizations.”
During the meeting, Jones said there was nothing they could do right then about the problem with the donations. He mentioned that the ability to appropriate this money is in their bylaws, causing confusion as to why they would no longer be able to donate money.
“Are we no longer able to show support to organizations that need money to run?” Jones said during the meeting.
Hoffmann said during the meeting this will force Student Senate to amend their bylaws to fit the policy change.
“It’s been in our bylaws that have been approved by the Board of Regents and then reviewed by Husch Blackwell and legal, and it’s been there for years,” Hoffmann said. “It is a big-picture project, probably a 99th Student Senate project as far as revising bylaws and conversations with finance.”
When it comes to donations that have already been made to organizations, Hoffmann said they should still be approved because it was passed through the Senate. They will have to work with finance if they say that the expense is not allowed.
Despite the fact that there was a change in the policy, there is still some uncertainty on what that means in the future for appropriations and donations.
“It may require us to think a little more creatively, but I think there is still a way,” Hoffmann said to the Senate. “I don’t know what is allowed anymore; I’m confused myself."