USG addresses concerns over club funding

woman stands and speaks
Student representatives voiced concerns about a lack of transparency in funding procedures. (Anik Panja | Daily Trojan)

The Undergraduate Student Government addressed funding issues for many registered student organizations at Tuesday night’s Senate meeting. 

Student representatives voiced concerns about a lack of transparency in funding procedures. The Model United Nations applied for funding in November and received notice on Jan. 31 that USG had denied their request. MUN charges a $50 membership fee to be accessible to more students and relies on this funding to allow their members to attend conferences and professional development events, said Taylor Clanton, director of new member affairs at MUN. 

“Recently, MUN has just been denied funding that we assumed that we were going to get as an officer of USG,” Clanton said. “I do know there are a lot of issues with funding and the system just in general.” 

MUN requested over $3,000 to fund multiple conferences that they have committed to attending. The organization said it followed the funding procedure but was denied because they did not provide a payment link, a requirement that wasn’t in the funding guidelines. 

“Operating under the assumption that you’re going to get funding is pretty dangerous because it’s never a guaranteed thing,” said chief financial officer Brian Stowe. “The rules are not changing … [The application] is not reviewed until it’s completed so that means you have all the materials that the application requests.”

Ranay Sah, MUN under-secretary general, called into question the Senate’s accountability.

“I would like to question why an organization that upholds the name of USC on an international stage is not receiving the recognition we deserve and is not receiving funding,” Sah said. “If you require payment in the future, I would please state that added to your guidelines as this is not only unjust, but we just want to represent the school efficiently.”

USG said it plans to hold further discussions with MUN at a later time. 

The Senate decided to table the beginning of the trial period of the prospective First Generation Student Assembly until Feb. 21. 

“This is a disappointment to the first-gen college student community,” said Celine, a student attendee majoring in political science who spoke up during an open forum. “We make up [23%] of the student population. And yet no one is making any comment about it. This trial period was supposed to begin this semester. You were all supposed to find funding somehow and I understand that you have no control over that. I understand you all just write things and sign. But I’m here representing a community that looks to you all.”

Celine, who only identified herself by her first name at the forum, said she wanted a public apology and an explanation from USG.

“Don’t tell me budget is an issue,” Celine said, “because I have no idea who in their right mind allowed 18 to 21-year-olds to handle such a large budget that, for some reason, you all don’t know what’s important to this campus.”

Hunter Hinson, chair of the committee on affordability and basic needs, presented a funding proposal from the legislative fund for Suit Up, an event that provides students scholarships of $150 to purchase professional attire. 

Hinson requested $12,500 to provide 83 students the opportunity, an increase of 50 students. The increase in funding is due to demonstrated need, as 517 students expressed interest in last year’s event. 

The presidential debate will take place Feb. 16 from 7-9:30 p.m. in Wallis Annenberg Hall. The voting period will be open from Feb. 21-26 and results will be announced March 1.