Student Senate raises

Becky Husky

Student organizations may have more freedom if Student Senate gets its way.

Senate recently passed a resolution aimed at giving student organizations more independence in their fundraising and spending abilities. To do this, the resolution calls for amendments to the Student Handbook.

The first amendment regards striking the section of the handbook which requires that food and beverages brought on campus, either be ordered from the University Dining Service, or have prior approval.

“I understand that this was created due to the fact that the school had to sign a contract with Sodexho,” said Tim Fisher, senior history major and president of Student Senate. “My big concern is student groups did not make that compromise. Student groups did not sign that contract and they’re being held to someone else’s contract.”

But, the Sodexho contract isn’t the only reason that outside food and drinks are prohibited, said Doug Carnahan, dean of students.

“If somebody gets sick, you know the University would be responsible,” he said. “It’s for the protection of everyone that we do this.”

According to Michael Wonderly, general manager of Sodexho, exceptions are sometimes made for small events.

“Generally, if people contact me and let me know, I’m willing to work with most any circumstances,” he said. “If it was food that was donated, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. It’s just the outside competition, if people went out and purchased food and brought it on campus, because our contract states that we are the sole provider on campus.”

Fisher hopes that, if nothing else, the policy will at least be changed to reflect the exceptions given to small events.

“I’d hate to suddenly see the hammer fall and some group get penalized in some way, shape or form because of a policy that was on the books but allowed people to slide by,” he said. “You either have to enforce it or not.”

The second amendment in the resolution calls for editing the section of the handbook which allows only one fundraiser per semester. Senate hopes to either remove this cap or have it raised.

“The reason it’s only one major fundraiser event per semester is so that organizations don’t get into the fundraising business,” Carnahan said. “We don’t want people to go into the business of making money. That’s not the point of the student organizations.”

Fisher, who is also the president of the History Club, said that the current fundraiser cap makes it difficult for small groups to raise enough money. Furthermore, he doesn’t think removal of the cap will lead to out of control fundraising.

“I think the majority of fundraisers take work and the only reason they’re done is because the group has a specific interest,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to find fundraising for the sake of fundraising.”

Furthermore, the handbook states that fundraisers must be approved by the Director of Student Activities. The resolution calls for having this requirement removed, since each organization already has its own faculty adviser.

“The reason it was to be run through the Director of Student Activities is so that you could have a professional who had a big overall view of what to do and what not to do,” he said. “But, we’re saying, is that any different than having a faculty adviser?”

Tori Christiansen, director of student activities, said that approval is needed to prevent fundraisers from running at the same time. But, it also ensures that fundraisers remain within legal bounds.

“The rules are there to protect the students, faculty and staff, but also to assure the success of the events,” she said. “Organizations will find that keeping me in the loop can actually benefit their organization and their fund-raising efforts in many ways.”

Though Fisher is open to compromise, he stresses the need of this resolution to bring future independence to student clubs.

“If we’re to operate as individual groups, under our own control, we need to be able to do fundraisers and we need to be able to spend that money as we decide to,” he said.