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RVAP, Crisis Center see bump in funding

BY MICHELLE NGO | MARCH 12, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa City Rape Victim Advocacy Program and the Johnson County Crisis Center are the only two organizations receiving an increase in recommended funding for fiscal 2015 from the Joint Finance Committee of the University of Iowa Student Government and the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students.

“When we go into these allocations and [joint finance] meetings, we fund as fairly as possible, but that’s definitely a major concern of the campus,” said Patrick Bartoski, the UI Student Government senator who submitted the resolution at Tuesday night’s meeting.

But the increase is not due to recent sexual assaults occurring on campus, student government members said.

“There was no direct correlation between what’s going on and our increase in funding,” Bartoski said. “We just felt these organizations were expanding and were trying to further establish themselves.”

The Crisis Center and RVAP are two of nine collaborative funding organizations that submitted their applications to the committee. These organizations are not necessarily university-sanctioned entities but have a strong presence from UI students.

“What sets the [collaborative fund groups] apart is these organizations are fundamental in building the overall campus culture of the university,” said Executive Council President Ben Gillig. “They are vital in framing and structuring student life for both graduates and undergraduates.”

After their initial applications, the nine organizations, which also include Scope, Dance Marathon, and KRUI, on Feb. 15 presented their qualifications for the funding to the committee.

The groups undergo a rigorous process every two years in order to qualify as collaborative funding organizations. Some criteria the organizations must meet include at least a three-year presence at the university and a significant impact on both undergraduate and graduate students.

While the criteria have not changed, this was the first time the committee asked the organizations to give physical presentations, said Drew Turner, the UISG chief financial officer.

“We usually just look at the budget ourselves and read the descriptions they provide us,” Turner said. “But this was a much more transparent process. If we had any questions, they could answer them there rather than having us just assume.”

The committees recommended a distribution of a projected $468,000 to the groups, significantly more than the $375,000 set aside for the rest of the student organizations on campus, including student clubs. Additionally, these organizations receive the money immediately, as opposed to on a semester basis.

“They’re certainly in a privileged position during the budgeting process,” Gillig said. “I think this year by asking them to submit presentations; a set of goals, and plans for assessing if they have met their goals to the committee is a really important step forward in terms of accountability.”


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