Transparency in College Council Funding

Fellow Ephs,

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding funding on College Council and its transparency. Through this message and the following video, we would like to explain the history of College Council Funding through SAT tax funding and Rollover to clarify any misunderstandings regarding how CC has acted through funding.

Section I: Definition of Terms

SAT Tax Funding: The $95/person/semester derived from tuition that contributes to the main operating budget of College Council.

Rollover Funding: The remaining funds from College Council Funds and College Council Registered Groups from only that fiscal year.

Cumulative Rollover: The cumulative remaining funds from College Council Funds and College Council Registered Groups that exists after each year

Treasurer’s Discretionary Funding: A fund dedicated to unforeseen emergencies that may arise during the course of the year that the Treasurer uses as his or her working budget.

General Fund: The fund dedicated to providing all CC approved organizations, both sub-group and non-subgroup clubs, with funding for budgets over the course of the year.

Co-Sponsorship Fund: The fund dedicated to subsidizing all-campus events on campus

CC Projects Fund: The fund dedicated to providing resources for the enactment of proactive improvements to the student experience at Williams. This fund is also known as the Great Ideas Fund, which College Council Campaigns for every fall.

Section II: A History of Funding

Three years ago, College Council’s Funding Structure enabled individual groups to keep the remainder of their yearly budget allocations. This process allowed for groups to accumulate rollover over time. This incentive system allowed for groups to hoard funds for themselves or accidently accumulate large sums of money that they did not need and could have been used by other groups.

In 2009, College Council voted to restructure the funding system that would create incentives for students to actually spend all of their College Council allocations on their activities. This system entailed the collection of any remaining funds at the end of the year from each individual group. Thereby, College Council perceived that the end of rollover for each group would allow for students to be more motivated to use their resources.

Because each individual group had accumulated large sums of funds, the initial collection of the rollover was about $150,000. This money was initially put into Treasurer Discretionary Fund, but it has since been moved to a variety of funds that are distributed by the Financial Committee and subject to oversight by College Council.

While College Council could have spent the large sum of money in a single year or on a single project, after College Council inherited the Cumulative Rollover, members of College Council decided it would be better to gradually give rollover funds back to students in a responsible manner. College Council instituted the Great Ideas Campaign in order to use funds for the purpose of providing resources to students that would not fall under the co-sponsorship and general fund.

Since 2009, College Council has continued to create funds that would rely on this Rollover Funding, such as the CC Projects Fund, the Benefits Fund, and the Capital Investment Fund. These funds provided new incentives on campus for students and open up ways that College Council could be of service to you. In addition, last year, College Council looked to extend its funding of student groups by changing bylaws regarding transportation so that students would not need to pay out of pocket for their activities. The Cumulative Rollover was distributed to these funds and was also available for transfers into General Fund and Co-Sponsorship Fund. In recent years, the amount of cumulative rollover has been decreasing because of projects CC has invested in; this year’s rollover is $20,000 less than the previous cumulative rollover. The total cumulative rollover for this fiscal year is $128,000. The process of decreasing the rollover has been deliberately slow to ensure longevity and sound fiscal practices.

Section III: Accounting And CC Transparency

Past treasurers have not disclosed to CC or the student body the value of Cumulative Rollover. The Controller’s Office has known about the Cumulative Rollover, and College Council is accountable for every dollar spent to the Controller’s Office. While not reporting the rollover amount is regrettable, it was not done in an attempt to deceive the student body. The treasurers of College Council have been dedicated to stewarding all College Council Money, SAT Tax and Rollover Funds, in a responsible manner. While this Cumulative Rollover exists as a single amount over the summer in Treasurer Discretionary, during the academic year, the rollover is distributed amongst active funds. There is no single fund with the Cumulative Rollover at present.

IV. Future Steps

As mentioned in the video, CC already passed by-laws this October requiring the Treasurer to post on the CC website an explanation of the SAT tax and how SAT tax is distributed to various funds on the CC website, and to meet with any student who wishes to look at the budgets of the Subgroup allocation process and the Financial Committee’s decisions. This was a major step towards increasing transparency of funds where it had been lacking for the student body. Furthermore, tonight, we passed by-laws that limit the amount of money in Treasurer Discretionary Fund and call for the treasurer to post the monetary amount for what fund every SAT tax and Rollover dollar goes to on the CC website. While this by-law was brought to CC tonight, it has been worked on for weeks now. We have also clarified the role of a Treasurer Advisor from Student Life in order to discuss financials and decision-making. Finally, we are in the process of approving a by-law that caps Treasury Discretionary Fund at $3000 and creates a Rollover Account for the Cumulative Rollover to be put in over the summer.

We would like to invite conversation about how to move forward regarding transparency on College Council. We are dedicated to increasing the transparency of both the SAT tax and the cumulative Rollover Funds to the student body. However, this is a continued conversation for how to best serve the student body with this information. We hope that students will use this as an opportunity for conversation with us about how College Council’s funds can best serve your needs as students and how best to provide full transparency about all aspects of College Council to you. We are looking forward to hearing all of your input and speaking with you.

Thank you and Good Luck on Exams,

Nick Fogel, Francesca Barrett, and Jack Noelke
CC Co-Presidents and CC Treasurer