SAFC decides how funding from the Service and Activity Fee is distributed.

The Services and Activities Fee Committee held their first meeting of the year. It was geared mainly towards introducing new members to the council and the ways in which its day-to-day operations are handled, but it also set the tone for the new year. Here is a quick recap on how the meeting went:

SAFC is a chancellor-appointed committee of seven students, four non-voting ex-officio members and a compliance officer. Students of the SAFC set budgets for the student activity fee and recommend what services the fee should fund.

Right off the bat, the council was introduced to Robert’s Rules as the law of the land for communication. Robert’s Rules of Order is a widely used parliamentary procedure that has been adopted by countless non-legislative committees, such as the Democratic Socialists of America. It loosely follows the rules set down by the House of Representatives. 

The entirety of the meeting functioned to help expose those otherwise unfamiliar with the process to its standard, and help refamiliarize those who may need it. The rules are simple, but encompassing, and a cheat sheet can be seen in the accompanying photo. 

An essential new rule mentioned by Sean Schmidt, the advisor and compliance officer for SAFC, was that once an agenda was approved for a meeting, it could not be changed. This is to ensure that guests knew what to expect and could be assured that anticipated topics were addressed. 

They went on to discuss other standards for operating, especially in the area of funding allocations. They discussed funding policies, such as special funding allocations and funding rollover. For programs that encounter special expenditures that were not anticipated — such as a higher number of expected students — they can then receive funding based on this principle.

Funds that a program does not use from one fiscal year can be rolled over to the next fiscal year and do not require SAFC approval for usage. 

Even though the SAFC provides recommendations for funding, they must first go through the Office of the Chancellor before reaching the UW Board of Regents for the expenditures to be approved. All fiscal year budgets are ultimately approved by the Board of Regents.

According to Associate Vice- Chancellor of Finance Jan Rutledge, historically, fund requests were effectively “rubber-stamped.” 

“Over the last three years, there seems to be an increasing amount of oversight,” Rutledge said, explaining how SAFC has garnered more interest and focus from students.

Providing students an open and accessible forum is an important part of the process, and Schmidt explained that for this reason, every meeting is open and free for students to sit in on, or even ask questions. They plan to hold meetings every Wednesday from 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. until the quarter is over, then will then return at the beginning of winter quarter.

Interested students can learn more about SAFC, as well as seen when the next meeting is, at www.tacoma.uw.edu/2021-2022-saf-budget

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