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The Student Activities Council Steering Committee has unanimously approved a proposal that would allow the body more flexibility in interpreting its bylaws -- including funding regulations. The proposal, which would transform SAC from a "procedural" body into a "rational" body, may mean a complete overhaul of the way SAC operates, SAC Steering Chairperson and College senior Graham Robinson said. Under the procedural system, it is easier for groups to misuse funds, Robinson explained. For example, a SAC group is allowed to spend money allocated for staplers on paper clips, since both items fall under the same category of office expenses. "Now, if SAC were a rational body, they would gut all those procedural rules that strictly define how SAC has to operate and just say what makes sense in each particular instance," Robinson said. But he said that if the system is overhauled, SAC Finance should still use the procedures as suggestions for how the body should efficiently operate. The proposal will be presented to the SAC general body at next month's meeting. Robinson said the body will vote on the changes at January's meeting, since motions to change the SAC constitution have to occur over two meetings. The proposal suggests creating a SAC Executive Committee, thereby eliminating both the SAC Steering and SAC Finance committees. The new committee will consist of nine members, one of which would be the Undergraduate Assembly treasurer. Only officers of SAC-recognized organizations would be allowed to run for this committee. The Executive Committee would decide on the recognition of SAC groups and would publish their results to the public. The main body would be able to motion to overturn the committee's decision if it does not agree. Under the current system, the entire SAC body formally reviews and votes on each individual case. The proposal also dictates that only the president or chairperson of an organization, and not the treasurer, can serve as a representative to SAC. "We think that if you get older people, people who have exhibited sufficient leadership qualities that they are able to become the president or chair of an organization in the first place, it would just be a better, more rational, body," Robinson said. Another aspect of the proposal aims to discourage representatives from missing meetings. Currently, groups lose recognition when they miss two meetings, but they regain it the next year when a new board takes over. The proposal would the lessen group's SAC grant by 10 percent when it loses recognition. The plan will also allow SAC groups to keep revenue up to 200 percent of their allocated budget without taking a cut in their SAC grants. Under the current system, if a group makes a profit one year, SAC finance will deduct the revenue from the next year's grant. "The rationale behind that is that there is an incredible amount of money out there available to student groups which they aren't taking advantage of because SAC currently discourages them raising money," Robinson said. According to the proposal, SAC would no longer have to fund a group just because it provides funds to a similar organization. Robinson explained that in some years, when SAC has more money to allocate than usual, the money ends up either not being spent or distributed equally among all SAC groups, "which is a waste, because most SAC groups don't need more money." And all groups are not equally deserving of money, he added. "Some groups are better run, some groups do what they do better, some groups' programs are more interesting than others and we really should fund those programs more than other programs," Robinson explained. The proposal allows groups to retain their outside revenues, instead of putting the funds in a central SAC account. This account currently holds $473,000, money that Robinson said should be distributed to SAC groups. The proposal also suggests that Connaissance -- an organization which brings speakers to campus and which has the largest SAC budget --become a part of the Social Planning and Events Committee instead of SAC. "[Connaissance] wants to do that, SPEC wants them and they are more of a SPEC group than a SAC group anyway," Robinson explained. SAC also recommends that the Executive Committee give special consideration to proposals it may not have otherwise funded if the proposal involves a joint effort by three or more groups -- "especially when the groups involved are groups that rarely interact," Robinson said. Robinson said the proposal is "a lot less dramatic than some people outside SAC Steering wanted," explaining that some members have suggested eliminating general body meetings altogether and putting the decision making in the hands of individual committees. If the proposal passes, the first Executive Committee will be elected in February 1996.

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