Student Activities Funding Commission - Charter


Amended Friday, April 24, 2015.

Preamble

The Student Activities Funding Commission is a student organization established by the undergraduate student body to:

  • promote the participation of Cornell undergraduates in decision making within the University
  • insure student control of the undergraduate activities funding
  • interpret and implement the funding criteria approved by the SA
  • allocate student activity funds
  • interpret policy
  • assist the SA with related functions concerning student organization funding

Name

The name of this organization shall be the Student Activities Funding Commission of Cornell University, hereafter referred to as the SAFC.

Quorum

Quorum is defined as a majority of the seated voting commissioners.

I. Attendance Policy

Good attendance is essential to the efficient running of the SAFC. The following attendance policy will be in effect and refers to attendance during one semester:

Each SAFC meeting or event has a point value for unexcused and excused absences, some of which may be decided at the discretion of the executive board. Missing normal meetings, executive board meetings, office hours, and help sessions are 1 point if excused and 2 points if unexcused. Budget hearings and interviews are 2 points if excused and 3 points if unexcused. Please note that commissioners are required to attend only a certain number of help sessions and budget hearings decided at the discretion of the executive board. Executive board members are held to a higher standard and must attend all SAFC meetings and events. An executive board member’s standing will be voted on in conjunction with his/her standing on the commission, should he/she accumulate points. An excused absence requires the formal notice of a valid excuse to the Vice Chair of Internal Operations. Valid excuses are an illness, a prelim the day following an event, a prelim the same day as the event, religious observances, or conflict with a job or job interviews, and any other excuse deemed appropriate at the discretion of the executive board. Any commissioner may appeal to the SA, which can overrule the decision of the SAFC by a majority vote. The SA is to cautiously exercise this authority, using it only in cases where rules have been violated or where there are extenuating circumstances worthy of consideration.

5 Points (A Warning)
If a commissioner reaches five points they will receive a warning that their attendance is not in accordance with the expectations of the SAFC.

7 and 9 Points (A Vote)
If a commissioner reaches seven points or subsequently 9 points they will be notified that at the next meeting there will be a vote taken by commissioners present on whether or not to remove said commissioner from the SAFC. Before a vote is taken, the commissioner will have the opportunity to justify the absences to the entire Commission. If the majority of the Commission votes in favor of his/her removal, that commissioner’s seat on the SAFC will be automatically vacated. If the majority of the Commission votes in favor of his/her staying on the SAFC, he/she will stay on the commission but will retain his/her point level. It will be that individual’s responsibility to find ways to make up the points.

11 Points (Removal)
If a commissioner reaches eleven points they will be automatically removed from the commission without a vote.

Due to the nature and close proximity of SAFC events, commissioners tend to rack up points consecutively, hurting their attendance records. The commissioner will be warned of points before every scheduled Monday meeting at which attendance standings will be discussed. The amounts of points accrued by that Monday meeting will dictate the procedures to be followed in regards to that commissioner’s attendance standing.

II: Membership

Section 1

The SAFC will consist of no more than forty and no less than thirty members.

Section 2

To be eligible for membership, a person must be registered as an undergraduate student at Cornell University, and must be enrolled as a second semester freshman, a sophomore, a junior, or a senior. No member of any university assembly (i.e., SA, University Assembly) or student trustee can participate as an SAFC commissioner except for the SA SAFC Liaison. If already a member of the SAFC when elected to their assembly position, they must resign from the Commission.

Section 3

Members’ Responsibilities

  1. Sign and adhere to the Oath of Office. Failure to adhere to the Oath of Office can result in removal from the Commission.
  2. Submit a list of organizations with which they are affiliated and for which they hold an executive position.
  3. Serve on SAFC committees if the need for such committees arises as deemed necessary by the E-board.
  4. Be knowledgeable of the SAFC funding and allocation policies
  5. Act in a professional manner at all times. Respect the rights of individuals and organizations that request and obtain SAFC funding.
  6. Serve as a liaison to student organizations if called upon and submit a summary report of each organization once during the semester to the Vice Chair of External Affairs (number to be determined by the Commission each semester or year). In their capacity as a liaison, commissioners must make themselves known by and available to all of their designated organizations prior to allocation to assist in funding request preparation, event planning, and answer any other pertinent questions.
  7. Attend one office hour per week for the two straight weeks prior to and after hearings and allocations and every other week thereafter.
  8. Commissioners are expected to attend one-hour weekly meetings and any training/retreat sessions. 

Section 4

A slate of new members of the SAFC shall be elected on the basis of interviews conducted by a small group of commissioners consisting of not less than four.
Interview procedures:

All students interested in becoming a commissioner must fill out an application. In addition, students must complete essay questions prepared by the Chair and the Vice Chair for Public Relations. Those applicants the SAFC designates as most qualified and/or prepared will be selected to participate in the second round, which is delineated below.

Six questions will be prepared by the E-board then chosen by the Chair and the Vice Chair of External Operations prior to the interviews. The commissioners will be divided into two groups. Each possible candidate will answer a minimum of three of the questions (in eight minutes) from a panel of half the commissioners and then answer the other three in front of the other panel. Before each interview, the commissioners will read the applicant’s information/question sheet.

The Commission will meet as a whole immediately after all applicants have been interviewed. The candidates will be randomly placed in order. Each candidate will be discussed following normal rules. Each candidate will then be voted on by secret ballot. The votes will be collected but not tallied until all applicants have been voted on. Any candidate receiving a “yes” vote from two-thirds of present commissioners will be considered qualified applicants.

After all candidates been voted on:

  • If worthy applicants = available spots, all will be accepted.
  • If worthy applicants > available spots, each present commissioner will be required to vote for as many candidates as there are spots available on a blind, listing ballot. The top (how many open spots) candidates receiving at least one-half of the votes of commissioners present, will be declared commissioners-to-be-approved. If not enough receive the said amount of votes (a majority) to fill the vacant slots, then the same procedure will be used again until all spots are filled. In case of a tie on the border of available spots, a similar run-off will be used.
  •  If worthy applicants < available spots, then all those considered worthy will be commissioner-to-be-approved. A period of discussion on remaining candidates will ensue. A vote will be taken on each commissioner about his/her worthiness. The top vote-getting candidates (at least over 50%) will be considered commissioners to be approved. Votes will not be counted until all applicants are voted on.

Should all of this occur and vacancies still exists, then the session will be still over. The E-board will have the option of reopening discussion at the next meeting.

Selection of new members may take place at any time and must take place at least once during each academic year.

Section 5

Members of the SAFC shall serve two-year staggered terms unless they resign or are removed from office (for attendance or other policy violations). Members can be appointed after two years. Commissioners may take a leave of absence during these two years but they must submit a formal letter to that effect for record keeping purposes before the last meeting of the semester.


To be excused from the attendance requirement at any meeting during the semester, a member must present his/her reasons to the SAFC and the absence must be approved by majority vote of the SAFC members present. If denied, the request may not be appealed.

III. Officers

Section 1

The duties of the officers shall consist of: establishing a schedule of funding hearings, calling and presiding at SAFC meetings, and directing the work of the SAFC.

Section 2

A slate of officers will be presented and voted upon by at least a quorum of the SAFC. These appointments shall be made in the fall semester of every year. Election of the 2 Co-chairs shall be staggered, with one Co-Chair elected at the above stated election time and another elected before the last day of classes in the spring semester. Executive Board officers shall consist of:

  • 2 Co-Chairs
  • Vice Chair for Internal Operations
  • Vice Chair for External Operations
  • Vice Chair for Public Relations
  • Secretary
  • Webmaster
  • Past E-board members (non-voting)

The following SA members serve on the SAFC E-board and are encouraged to take an active role in its proceedings:

  • SAFC Liaison (voting)

Section 3 - Executive Board Responsibilities

  • Chair or Co-Chairs (2)
    1. Share and assume total/final responsibility for the functioning of the SAFC and its actions.
    2. Establish the agenda and chair/co-chair meetings.
    3. Conduct the President and Treasurer’s Workshop.
    4. Make timely responses to any inquires by groups concerning allocation procedures, rationale letters and funding transfers.
    5. Serves as a resource to the SAFC to ensure that the commission acts in a holistic manner whenever possible i.e. acts fiscally prudent and is constantly searching for bargains and advises and represents the SAFC in all relevant financial dealings. 6. Co-Chairs may vote when a vote among the Executive Board is necessary.
  • Vice Chair of Public Relations
    1. Communicate with the community, including the press, campus groups, the administration and the Student Assembly.
    2. Submit ads in the Daily Sun regarding membership, funding request submission deadlines, etc.
    3. Proof rationale letters for content, clarity, and accuracy.
    4. Arrange and oversee new commissioner application and interview process.
    5. Vote for final approval of allocations.
  • Vice Chair of Internal Operations
    1. Notify all members, via email, of meeting times and location.
    2. Coordinate the schedules, office hours, and reserve rooms for such purposes.
    3. Maintain and prepare the Commission’s internal operating budget.
    4. Vote for final approval of allocations.
    5. Serve as the Training Officer of the Commission by formulating and executing the training process for new and returning commissioners.
  • Vice Chair of External Operations
    1. Be in charge of the Liaison program by making commissioner assignments and collecting reports.
    2. Explain SAFC decisions to groups when questioned. Act as the “point” person for all inquiries with the Co-Chairs and respond within 48 hours.
    3. Vote for final approval of allocations.
    4. Will take an active role in aiding groups’ planning of events, working particularly with larger groups to ensure best utilization of funds and ensure that any groups which use large venues for events.
    5. In order to have funds allocated most effectively, ensure that groups, which use large venues for performances or other events, don’t have largely similar events or conflicting events at the same time.
    6. Ascend to the Chair position in the event that a Co-Chair resigns or is incapable of performing their duties as per Section 4.
  • Webmaster (Non-voting)
    1. Create and operate a functional website for proper portrayal of Commission information.
    2. Ensure that documents available on the Commission website are up to date.
    3. Manage the Commission’s Orgsync portal by uploading necessary forms and documents and ensuring that they are up to date.
    4. Act as the liaison between the Commission and Orgsync.
  • Secretary (Non-Voting)
    1. Take minutes at all meetings.
    2. Keep and enforce the attendance policy.
    3. Must keep records of Tier Placement, Budget Allocation, Budget Hearing Outcomes,
    4. Appeal decisions and other relevant decision to assist future members in training.
    5. These records must be available to the undergraduate student body.
    6. Ensure the adherence to SAFC Charter and Bylaws

Section 4

In the event that the Chair resigns or declares that he/she is unable to complete his/her term in office, the Vice Chair of External Operations shall assume his/her duties until an election can be held to choose a new Chair. The election must take place within two weeks of the resignation or declaration of incapacity. The newly elected Chair shall serve for the remainder of the previous Chair’s term.

Section 5

The officers shall be elected by a majority of the SAFC members before the last day of classes of the fall semester. The officers should have at least one semester’s term of experience to serve in the position. The election meeting shall be well publicized to all Commission members. Absentee ballots shall be permitted provided they are submitted to the Chair in writing before the final vote is taken. To be eligible to vote, a member must not be in violation of the attendance policy.

Section 6

The officers’ terms of office shall begin on the Monday after the last day of classes in the fall semester of the election until one year later. 

IV. Amendments

Section 1

This Charter may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the SAFC voting members subject to the approval of the SA by majority vote. The Assembly may make amendments through majority vote.

Section 2

This Charter may be amended at any meeting provided that the SAFC members have received previous notification that the amendment is to be considered.