Moratorium remains priority for new SAC board
SAC has also been called upon to be more transparent in moratorium dealings.
October 17, 2013, 10:25 pm · Updated October 18, 2013, 12:03 am·
The Student Activities Council held a vote Thursday night to elect five new executive board members. Many of the newly elected executive members hope to effect change in the moratorium, as new clubs have not been able to seek SAC recognition since last September.
The SAC general body voted in Engineering and Wharton junior Joseph Ooi, the business manager of the Glee Club, College and Wharton junior Ben Marchi, treasurer of the Philomathean Society, College sophomore Drisana Hughes, QC Tournament Director of from Mock Trial, Wharton sophomore Eli Bernstein, vice president of internal development for the Wharton Undergraduate Consulting Club, and College sophomore Renata O’Donnell, secretary for Penn for Youth Debate.
Before the elections began, the 11 candidates answered questions about their platforms. Many spoke about the moratorium and transparency, something that SAC has been called upon to do by a petition circulated by College senior Nikolai Zapertov. The petition calls for SAC to release more budget details to the greater University population and it has been signed by over 150 students online.
The SAC moratorium has been in place since fall of last year — meaning that no new student groups have been recognized by SAC for over a year. Thirty-one groups were left out of SAC according to written responses to Zapertov’s petition.
The moratorium was instituted in response to rising facilities costs, according to College senior and SAC Chair Jen Chaquette.
This year, fewer than 20 clubs are in a total of $9,000-worth of debt, a significant decrease from last year when the number reached $40,000.
“They were made aware of their levels of debt at the September GBM and were given a month to figure out a repayment plan” or discuss ways to deal with debt in the future, Chaquette said.
At the next general body meeting in October, clubs that are currently in debt will face budget cuts, the penalties of which depend on the amount of debt they have incurred. Clubs with higher debt will have a higher percentage of their budget allocated to paying back their debt.
These groups include Alternate Spring Break, Biological Basis of Behavior Society and PennDure, among others.
“We put up our debt plan to remind groups of the penalties that … debt carries at the September GBM,” Chaquette said. Some groups were able to pay back their debts immediately, and for those “groups that are further in debt, we [were able] to come up with a debt-repayment plan that works for both of us.”
“We also needed to hold current groups accountable,” she added.