Treasury Minutes 4/07/2020

Student Union Treasury

Meeting Minutes

Date: 4/7/20

  1. Call to Order

Speaker of the Treasury called to order the Treasury session at 8:00pm CDT today on Zoom.

  1.  Roll Call
No.NameCommitteeSeatP/T/A/E*Comments
1Fadel AlkilaniBC ChairFallP
2Stephanie SarkarBCSpringP
3Raghed Abdel-TawabBCFallP
4Jake SassmannshausenBCFallP
5Hannah ShapiroACSpringP
6Zoë HancockAC ChairSpringP
7David WanACFallP
8Jon LiTBDSpringP
9Alim MerchantTBDSpringP
10Joel BrodyTBDSpringP
11OPENSpring
12Malar MuthukumarBCSpringP
13Max RoitblatACSpringP
14Bryan PeltierACFallP
15Jeremy KunenACFallA
16Elaine SohBCSpringA
17Zachary SorensenSpeakerFallP
18Keith NelsonACFallE
19Faith NgundiBCSpringP
20OPENFall
21Otto BrownBCFallP

* P – Present     T – Tardy A – Absent     E – Excused

  1. Student Activity Fee Discussion
Comments:By:
A partial refund is obviously the most equitable, however, I’m interested in giving some of the money to the WU Investment Management company to create an SU endowment so we can pad our budgets in the future.Joel
With both the SU Mental Health Fund and the Opportunity Fund, those are both investing in the endowment.Zach
Another possibility is contributing some of the money to giving the SAF away to a fund serving local nonprofits.  Over 20% of the DENEB Stars program said they would be in favor of giving some of the money to this fund.Sophie
One of the biggest priorities should be refunding the SAF, especially to seniors.  If we don’t end up giving a refund for non-seniors, something we could do is an extra large-scale programming event in the Fall to bring the student body back together after the separation caused by the coronavirus.Raghed
There are some legal concerns associated with donating the money to a local nonprofit.Janice
I think donating to the Mental Health Fund and the Crisis Fund should be contributed to in addition to SAF refunds.  One thing I will note is that the University should definitely be taking more of a role in adding to these funds.Nkemjika
I think the focus should be on the Crisis Fund.  Putting it in the Carryforward account or refunds feels unnecessary at this point, I feel like putting it in that fund would better benefit students who are in dire need.Philip
I agree that refunding the seniors is important, however, I am also in favor of the virtual programming option since the SAF typically goes towards that in the first placeAlim
I agree with Kem and Joel in that we should definitely be putting money in the endowment.Adin
I think we should put the extra money in the carryforward account so that we can increase programming next year.Jon
The Crisis Fund doesn’t give students a lot of agency when they receive money so I think that a refund is the best way to get disadvantaged students their money back.Nkemjika
Since a lot of the effects of the coronavirus are as of yet unknown, I think there should be an opt-in for giving your SAF refund to the crisis fund.Dylan
I think the seniors should be refunded their SAF, but as for the rest of it, I feel that we should definitely be giving to the Opportunity Fund and the Mental Health Fund.Zoë
At the end of the day, I feel like this money should be for helping students so perhaps as big of a refund of the SAF is best.Adin
For me, the biggest priority is refunding the SAF, especially for seniors.  If it is going to student activities, I don’t think we should be giving money to virtual programming since it is difficult to maintain equitable experiences for all in the virtual worldMalar
I don’t think we should be determining what to do with the SAF so I agree with Dylan in that we should implement an opt-in system between refunds and giving to the Crisis Fund or Opportunity FundDavid
I think we should look at accounting for a budgetary shortfall, even though people have raised about being representative with where we allocate this SAF, SU has a lot of fixed costs in addition to its variable costs and a drastic decrease in attendance could seriously impact our basic ability to function next semester so we should take care to plan for that possibility.Bryan
Refunding seniors is important, but I think it is also important to ensure that we are able to function appropriately in the future so I think we should be funding the Mental Health Fund.Alim
A really important thing we have to keep in mind is that we should be careful about making  a decision before seeing our carryforward balance after everything is balanced during the summer.  I’m onboard with using some of this money to cover for a potential downward spike in enrollment and thus our budget.Fadel
I see the SAF as something that should see to the immediate needs of the students so I think it is important to issue a refund, I don’t think we should be worrying as much about potential budget shortfalls next year.Philip
Going forward, I think it will be increasingly difficult to meet our student group budgeting requests so I think we should be accounting for potential shortfalls in the future.Joel
  1. Student Feedback Discussion
Comments:By:
I think it is imperative to get some student data on how students want to spend this money, especially if Exec has to make a decision over the summer without the input of Senate or Treasury.Sophie
I read the text of the survey and I want to see the survey be a lot more developed since it is quite vague in my opinion.Fadel
I don’t feel comfortable providing an opinion to Exec Council about how to dispose the SAF without student input since we are elected to represent feedback.  As for improving the survey, we have already reached out to university staff to help us with that process.Nicole
It is important to represent feedback, but I think at this point we know that students think the programming and events put on by the SAF are important to them.Zoë
It is important to get student feedback on this since we are student representativesNkemjika
I think we should have a student survey.  I also think we should definitely have refunds for seniors, but I think as for non-seniors, we should prioritize other options.Raghed
After looking through the survey, I think the survey is well-structured, I’m just worried about if students will be able to fully grasp the intricacies of each option.  Amaan
In response to the idea of a survey, I think our job as representatives is to represent the student body and the student body won’t be able to fully appreciate the nuances of each option.  Fadel
One of SU’s big criticisms is a lack of transparency so I think that a survey or other method of garnering student feedback is important to make sure that their voice is heard.Chloe
Making these decisions requires a lot of background information that is difficult to contain in a short survey.Malar
A lot of our job is to communicate to students why we’re having these discussions and methods other than a survey could prove difficult for constituents to fulfill and a survey is the best way to get quantitative data on student’s opinions.Sophie
I agree a survey is good but especially with the difficult times that coronavirus has placed on us it is difficult to gauge student opinion and act in their best interests due to the dynamic situation so a  survey is crucial to ensuring that we act with students’ best interests at heart.Bryan
I think a survey is a great way to get quantitative student feedback and I think adding a free response section is important so we can get other feedback not related to the specific options relayed.Philip
I agree office hours are not conducive to all students gathering feedback, but surveys are often flawed so I’d like to see a way to garner qualitative feedback from students.Alim
I don’t think we should be debating which option to gather student feedback is best, I think we should be coming up with more ways to gather student feedback.Jake
It is imperative to account for people who are in unique situations so I do think that the best way to quickly and efficiently get the information we need is through a survey.Kristina
The best way to give students voice in how their money is spent is to give the SAF a refund.  Since the money that goes to the Mental Health Fund is already going there, I would feel misled if that was not communicated to me.Nathaniel
Only 18/45 people have spoken so if you have given your opinion, please make sure you are leaving space for others, especially new reps, to voice their thoughts.Anne
As a  body representing nearly 8,000 undergraduates, it is impossible to represent all of their opinions by ourselves.  Furthermore, I think we should reach out to student group leaders to get their opinions since they are leaders around campus.Jon
I would like to motion for a straw poll if you are in favor of some form of external outreach beyond office hours.Nicole
A survey isn’t going to be very beneficial since we don’t even know our own numbers yet and a lot of the decisions will and should be based on the numbers that will come out this summer.  Fadel
Following up on the straw poll, I’d like to hear more opinions on why you don’t think that a survey is a good way to get student input.  Depending on when we know what the numbers are, we can possibly wait to release the survey until we know what the numbers are.Nicole
I’m for a survey as long as it is done in a very particular manner to ensure that we get useful information to make sure that respondents are informed on the decisions that they are making.Zoë
I think Fadel raises a good point about how if we don’t know exactly how much money is available, it’s tough to make an informed decision on how to dispose of the extra Student Activities Fee.Philip
Surveys are quick and relatively low-effort, however, there are significant nuances present in this discussion and it will be nearly impossible to communicate those to all respondents so I am wary of any decisions based off of information from a survey.Joel
Assuming we are moving forward with a survey, I’d love to hear more input on how to improve the survey or other methods of outreach to students.Chloe
One of the big things that I like about Sophie’s survey is that it is very comprehensive in terms of options, but I agree with a lot of people in that a lot more information needs to be provided in order to make any information gathered from the survey usable.Alim
I like that one of the surveys has a slider which makes it easy to gather quantitative data from a large number of responses.  Relying on professional opinions from WashU staff on how to improve the survey will be very helpful in improving the survey.Sophie
I don’t think giving the survey is an urgent matter so I like the idea of waiting and working on improving the survey and developing other methods of garnering feedback and we can revisit this topic in a month or so.Otto
I think the key to improving the survey is ensuring that students are informed when filling out the survey.  Specifically I think we should include a short argument for and against each option if we are to list option so that students can get a view into our thought processes when filling out the survey.Amaan
I would love to come back to school and talk to more fellow students on how they feel we should move forward so that I can better represent constituent voices so I would be in favor of delaying this whole process.Raghed
  1. Updates
Speaker and Committee Chair:
Please fill out the Committee preference form ASAP so we can give out committee assignments next week.  Please schedule a one on one with me; I’d love to get to know new reps better!Zach(SoT)
The Trending Topics Committee is meeting for the first time tomorrow night.  New Senate reps please schedule a one on one with me. All Senate committees are meeting this week so get excited for that.  Senate is meeting regularly next week and we’ll be talking about Improve WashU.Gaby(SoS)
Exec:
I would still love to have one on ones with all of you and congratulations on doing an amazing job tonight.  I’m working on a few national letters regarding HIPAA and a few other topics, please reach out to me if you have any questions.Ranen(SUP)
Recruitment and Retention Committee interest form is closing tonight.  I will reach out to those signed up tomorrow to schedule an initial meetingAnne(EVP)
If you know any student groups, please tell them reregistration is due April 17th.Alexa(VPF)
Advisor:
Reregistration!  Campus Life is now holding virtual office hours everyday from 9-5 Monday through Friday if you ever need to talk to one of us.  All of our GPS advisors and CampusLife staff are available virtually so please reach out if you want to talk to one of us.Peggy
  1. Adjournment
Session Adjourned At:8:08PM(PST)
Minutes Submitted By:Bryan Peltier
Minutes Approved By:Zachary Sorensen