The University of South Dakota Student Government Association is working to fix a number of outdated laws and guidelines concerning control over student organizations and fiscal responsibility.
During the group’s first meeting Sept. 3, Club Lacrosse President Alex Peterson confronted SGA, looking for a donation to go towards purchasing helmets for the club to use this coming season.
The request for helmets was turned down, because the club is ineligible for funding for not being an active club for at least one year and did not originally list helmets as a line item.
However, during discussion it became apparent a few points and procedural instructions in the SGA fiscal guidelines as well as the appropriation guidelines for club sports are no longer current.
SGA Business Manager Kara Fischbach told senators and other attendees at the Sept. 10 meeting that talks and considerations between her, SGA President Erik Muckey and SGA Finance Committee Chair Katie Staley to change the guidelines have already begun.
“We’re working on it right now. We’ve got the discussion started on the fiscal guidelines and after that we are looking to move to the club sports. Hopefully we have that done this semester,” Fischbach said.
First, a group must rewrite a bill and propose it to the SGA Senate. After submission, the Senate will hold deliberations to discuss changes before passing it onto a committee who will hammer out holes in the bill.
Finally, voting and minor changes must be made before the bill goes into effect.
“The laws are outdated, the fiscal guidelines and the club sports guidelines,” Fischbach said. “That’s where issues are coming up. We need to figure out how we are going to interpret them now until we can get them updated.”
Fischbach also said the rules leave a lot of gray area for misinterpretation and that the normally simple procedure has been slowed greatly.
“They should be clear cut. We need to figure it out before we can allocate anything to organizations like club lacrosse,” she said.
Muckey said it has become a point of emphasis for him and other SGA members to clear the air around the bylaws and guidelines.
“Club sports guidelines needs some updating because they have not been well-updated or well-maintained for some time,” Muckey said. “That’s something our administration is focused on. We’re hammering down our guidelines and making sure any hole that can arise is being cleared up.”
The SGA fiscal guidelines and appropriation guidelines for club sports, which all students can access online through the MyU portal online, are current as of March 18, 2011.
But, in the two and a half years since the last updates, the realm of club sports has gone through dramatic changes.
For example, Section 2 contends that funding eligibility of the fiscal guidelines has a few pieces of information that are not current.
The bylaw states, “Athletic organizations: SGA shall not fund any organization that meets the definition of an athletic organization as provided in the guidelines of the Recreation Sports Department or any sports part of the Campus Recreation Department.”
In the past, club sports operated through the DakotaDome and the campus recreation department, making them similar to school-sanctioned sports.
Fischbach said the addition of the Wellness Center and a change by the university moved club sports under the direction of both the Wellness Center and SGA. Eventually, the campus recreation department was terminated but is still labeled in the fiscal guidelines, which SGA must uphold to.
The SGA is now in a position where they must fix the laws so that clubs are legally eligible for funding and do not lag behind in formation and competition.
“Knowing these guidelines need updating is frustrating for us,” Muckey said. “We’re questioning why this wasn’t addressed previously.”