On Tuesday, April 7th, the Student Activities Commission voted 8-2 to place the Philodemic Society into a Restoration category and ban its travel for the 2016 fiscal year due to policy violations.
Restoration means that the Philodemic Society will not receive a budget at SAC’s budget summit but can request funding on an ad hoc basis throughout the semester. During the semester, commissioners will check in with the group at least twice. In order to have its withdrawal from the Restoration Process considered, the group will have to present to the full Commission.
According to SAC’s budget guide, policy violations that result in a group being placed in the Restoration category include, but are not limited to: failing to submit a budget form, breaching university and/or SAC policy, or failing to submit event authorization forms in a correct and timely fashion.
Acting President of Philodemic Society Asha Thanki (SFS ’17) and SAC Chair Connor Maytnier (COL ’17) declined to explicitly state the Philodemic Society’s policy violation.
“They violated policies related to event approval, travel approval, and honesty,” Maytnier wrote in an email to the Voice. “SAC leadership had two in-person meetings with the organization’s leadership to learn more about the situation. The entire Commission then heard from the organization’s leadership before ultimately reaching the decision outlined above.”
According to SAC’s public meeting minutes, during the discussion on Tuesday, SAC member Mollie Rodgers (COL ‘16) supported placing the Philodemic Society into Restoration but disagreed with the travel ban as it punished all members and not just Philodemic’s leadership. SAC member Berlin Chang (SFS ‘18), however, argued that the transgression was more serious than those which qualify for Restoration so the travel ban should be upheld.
“I wish none of this had transpired in the first place,” Thanki wrote in an email to the Voice. Losing automatic funding imposes large inconveniences on the organization considering that the Philodemic Society has traditionally had a high volume of active members and social programming.
According to Maytnier, SAC exists to help student organizations meet their goals and respects the diversity of different group’s desires. “SAC determined that these sanctions were both fair and necessary, and will ensure that the organization can be successful in years to come,” he wrote.
Thanki also believes that the Philodemic society will be able to recover from this incident despite its dependence on SAC for transportation and equipment.
“Being placed in Restoration will affect the way we function on a very regular basis. I am convinced, though, that the Society will make it through this difficult time,” wrote Thanki. “This is an incredibly unfortunate situation but the Society will be putting its best foot forward as we move on.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article did not clarify the source of the discussion at Philodemic Society’s Tuesday meeting. The information was retrieved from Philodemic Society’s public minutes. The article has been changed to reflect this correction.