Policy changes and enhanced resources coming to MSU Clubs Department

April 16, 2020 at 09:00 am

Recently, the Executive Board of the MSU approved changes to the MSU Clubs operating policies, in a comprehensive effort to address concerns relating to the Clubs department’s ratification process, judicial & recognition policies, and departmental resources. These policy chances will take effect immediately, however the clubs ratification process, currently underway for September 2020, will not be impacted. The club ratification changes will not take place until the 2021 application cycle.  

The changes aim to address and overcome gaps in clubs support, while simultaneously enhancing the Clubs Department, as well as the student experience within the Clubs system. Specifically, new policies relating to clubs’ finances, operations, and status have been developed. Moreover, two new comprehensive committee structures will come into being to oversee the approval of new clubs, as well as the appeals process, should a club wish to contest the decisions of the Clubs Department. The policy changes have been made in consultation with the Internal Governance Committee of the MSU, along with the Clubs Executive Council, student leaders across campus, the Equity and Inclusion Office, the Office of Student Affairs, and the best practices of other student unions across Canada. 

 Specifically, there will be changes to:

  •   new club application and recognition parameters
  • a streamlined renewal process for existing clubs
  • an improved judicial policy, with the addition of the Clubs Appeal Board
  • changes to financial procedures including in-house banking and a no-interest loan option
  • additional departmental support and staffing

The newly formed Clubs Advisory Council (CAC) will renew the status of existing clubs and make recommendations to the SRA with regards to new club ratifications and clubs policy changes. New club ratifications will be handled separately from the renewal of existing clubs for two reasons. One, this process will allow for a more comprehensive and thorough review and ratification process for new clubs. And two, existing clubs will have an expedited renewal process, that will eliminate the unnecessary duplication of paperwork from previous cycles.

Club ratification procedures will include language that will prevent clubs that “have a core or sole mandate” to fundraise for a charity or external organization to be ratified. To be clear, this does not mean clubs won’t be able to work with charities or external groups. It means clubs must offer more to the campus community, should they seek ratification. This could include educational opportunities, experiential learning opportunities, student focused events, etc., in addition to fundraising efforts.  The changes in the definitions of club mandates are not meant to prevent the great work done by student groups on campus, but instead will help consolidate resources and ensure proper support.

The Clubs Department will also be enhanced to better support clubs and club executives. The Clubs Administrator role has been enhanced as well. Currently it is a one-year contract role, which results in annual turnover and the need to transition staff each May. Anticipated for May 1, the Clubs Administrator will become a full-time position, thus generating more continuity and expertise within the department year-over-year. The MSU is currently in the process of hiring the Clubs Administrator.

There have also been changes to financial procedures. Upon consultation with other student unions and reviewing common challenges relating to club operations, all club banking will be moved to MSU internal systems. This allows for additional support for clubs and ensures student funds are being used appropriately and responsibly. Additionally, clubs will now charge a single, standardized membership fee. Move over, clubs will be able to utilize the MSU’s purchase order system for payments exceeding $150. This will save time, effort and money as the MSU’s account department will process the financial paperwork and cheque acquisition for vendors, on behalf of a club. Finally, clubs will be able to apply for a new financial assistance option in the form of a no-interest loan. A loan of this nature will give clubs the ability to fund larger events that boast higher start-up / overhead costs. These measures will be in addition to the traditional funding grants provided by the MSU to clubs.

Incoming club executives can expect more communication in the coming days and weeks to ensure ease of transition and adequate support through these new changes.

For more information, please contact:

Josh Marando
MSU President
president@msu.mcmaster.ca

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