BOR revises student group funding policy

The South Dakota Board of Regents revised Board Policy 3:18, “Funding of Student Organizations,” to make the rules on organization funding clearer.

Adopted last month, Policy 3:18 underwent revisions to clarify student senate guidelines and purposes. The revisions took place during the fall semester and were sent out to members of student government through the student federation. Among the revisions were stating the two purposes of student senates, providing a formal chartered student organization and communicating with students and faculty outside of the organization. 

“Learning how to operate a student organization under a charter is a good way to learn how to participate in corporate governments and make decisions in structured forms,” said Board of Regents General Counsel Jim Shekleton.

Along with the functions and structures mentioned within the revised policy, recipients of student senate money were discussed as well. Organizations generating income for personal uses or profit cannot receive student senate funding.

“It is a good reminder for who can get money and who can’t,” said former Students’ Association President Jameson Berreth. “A lot of student governments don’t have as large of budgets as we do, but it impacts us the most.”

The revised policy also states that student senates cannot make formal decisions with budgets: rather, they make suggestions.

“If there is litigation, we don’t want students tied up in litigation for years,” Shekleton said. “We want to protect our students from being drawn into something that could be drawn into for a period of time.”

The policy also states that organizations cannot limit their membership requirements or their funding on the basis of race or religion. Students are to freely express their views.

“All organizations are open to everybody … we don’t believe in this country that people can pick and choose full-righted citizens,” Shekleton said.

For Students’ Association, the revisions of this policy apply to them. However, SA was already following by these guidelines before they were revised into the policy.

“Any change in policy will affect how we make decisions, to some extent, but I’d say for the most part [it will] not because most of the things changed we already do — it wasn’t necessarily in writing before,” said Ben Stout, current SA president. “I support the changes. It clarifies the guidelines more.”

“I was very, very appreciative of the quality and the thoughtfulness that the students made to make this a workable document and something students would find as accessible,” Shekleton said.