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Council weighs in on carry-forward account

Karen Langley | Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Following last meeting’s fiscally-oriented discussion, the Council of Representatives (COR) met Monday night to discuss a cap on the Student Union’s carry-forward account, a proposal made by the newly-created task force on fiscal policy improvements.

The carry-forward account is described by the Student Union constitution as being “designated for the purpose of financing unique and extraordinary opportunities.” The task force focused on the possibility of capping on the carry-forward fund account, which now contains $180,000.

“Does there need to be a $180,000 insurance policy on the Student Union?” asked student body president Dave Baron. “The answer seemed to be no.”

To give a sense of the magnitude of the account, Student Union Board president Jimmy Flaherty said SUB’s largest events usually run on a budget of about $60,000.

“If we take a hit entirely of $60,000, which is extremely unlikely, it could be paid through managing existing budgets so that in one year we would be back in the black,” Baron said.

Student Union director of communications Steve Miller and Judicial Council president James Leito studied the language of the constitutional passage describing the carry-forward account.

“The language is kind of murky,” Miller said. “When it says, ‘The carry-forward account may not be used to finance deficits,’ we read it to mean that if a club overspends its budget, the carry-forward account is not to be dipped into at that moment. If at the end of the year, there is a deficit, that’s when the carry-forward account gets dipped into.”

Future student bodies could use the funds that currently surpass the proposed maximum cap if an endowment was established, student body vice president Lizzi Shappell said.

“We met with [Vice President for University Relations] Lou Nanni and mentioned that we might be looking to set up [an] endowment, something to ensure excess money from carry forward [is] used for future student bodies,” she said. “He suggested that $100,000 could set up a named endowment … It could be earmarked under Student Activities or Student Affairs.”

Representatives plan to meet further with Nanni to discuss possibilities and options regarding the account.

In other COR news:

Club Coordination Council (CCC) president Beth O’Shaughnessy proposed that COR and CCC switch meeting times, so that CCC would begin each Monday at 6 p.m., followed by COR at 7:30 p.m. This change would allow COR to look over proposals from CCC immediately after the CCC meeting.

“It will be a much better turnaround time,” O’Shaughnessy said.

The Council will likely vote on the proposed time change in the near future.

klangle1@nd.edu