ASMSU's endowment fund to collect money to aid survivors of sexual assault with recovery has been frozen from accepting donations due to an oversight in the creation process.
Because ASMSU collects a student tax, and that money would be used to create the fund, the board of trustees must vote on the endowment.
ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca said the endowment should receive the votes it needs for creation.
“It’s just one more step in the process," Santavicca said. "It’s not necessarily a barrier to anything. I’ve been assured through student affairs and the secretary through the board of trustees that this can go forward.”
In addition to this, ASMSU also was not aware that according to MSU policy, the endowment must have a minimum of $50,000 to be created.
“We need an initial allocation of $50,000 to create the endowment, and so I’m trying to work on the details of what that looks like, if there’s someone else on campus who can help us support that for the initial allocation,” Santavicca said.
ASMSU faculty advisor Erik Maillard said that ASMSU not being aware of this step of the process caused current problem.
“The way we went about it was the easy way, I guess, but I did not know that when I reached out to Advancement to do so," Maillard said.
It was not the board of trustees who closed the account from being able to accept donations. Santavicca had to do so during the waiting period.
“That was a decision that I had to make because in order for an endowment to function," Santavicca said. "We have to set something up in the form as a fund functioning as an endowment. What that means is that any time any public dollars donated to the university are being put into an endowment fund, they have to be voted on by the board of trustees.”
Santavicca explained the public dollars come from the ASMSU tax, and reiterated that this is simply another step in the process.
“Because our tax dollars are collected in a public form or fashion, every student pays into our ASMSU tax, those are public dollars at that point," Santavicca said. "Yes, while we have the adjudication and the full discretion of how to spend those dollars ... this is just one instance where we do have to seek the higher approval.”
ASMSU Finance Chair Max Donovan wrote the bill which created the fund. He said the board of trustees should vote on the endowment this month.
“We have sadly run into a pretty significant hitch," Donovan said. "We will not be able to collect donations for the Hughey Fund Endowment until after the board of trustees vote in December unless we are given permission to unfreeze the endowment between now and then.”
Maillard said he hopes everything is sorted out by the board of trustees and that he has heard enthusiasm from the public about the endowment.
"I know there’s a lot of people around the community who are excited about the Hughey Fund, including some of my colleagues, who really feel this is going to give them a great tool to help out with sexual assault,” Maillard said.
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