SGA forbids clubs from using Venmo


BAILEY SAMBER/The Vermont Cynic

(Left to Right) Speaker of the Senate Zach Merson, SGA Vice President Owen Doherty, SGA President Jillian Scannell and SGA Treasurer Taylor Gauthier sit at a table during a weekly SGA meeting, Nov. 5. The meeting discussed the use of unauthorized payment apps such as Venmo.

SGA has passed an amendment to their financial policy that will now impose penalties for clubs using unauthorized apps, such as Venmo.

Use of these unauthorized apps has been banned for years, said sophomore Lana Al-Namee, member of the Finance Committee.

Now, any club member caught using Venmo for club purposes will have to go in front of the student conduct committee. Twenty-five percent of the total amount fundraised will be deducted, and the organizations’ account will be frozen, according to the amendment.

Apps such as Venmo are used to send money to an individual’s bank account, and UVM cannot verify how much money was actually collected, making it a liability, Al-Namee said.

“It puts the University in jeopardy as well,” Al-Namee said. “We could even lose our federal work studies because if the government were to do an audit of the University and saw this money that was being moved around, that’s a really big liability for both students and the University.”

The amendment is being enacted after three clubs violated the rule in one week, said junior Taylor Gauthier, SGA treasurer.

The amendment was researched by Blanka Caha, SGA’s business manager, and Gauthier. Al-Namee wrote and presented the amendment.

SGA sent out emails to clubs Nov. 6 stating the consequences of using Venmo. The amendment starts taking place immediately.

Sophomore Olivia Mauro, president of Big Buddies, a mentoring club, is frustrated by the new repercussions, but also understands the risks created by using Venmo.

“I did see those emails, and they’re very forboding and kind of scary,” Mauro said. “I understand there needs to be consequences to using Venmo, so I get the University’s thoughts about that.”

Big Buddies has created a larger budget this year and has started to fundraise, Mauro said. However, she felt they missed out on money during their recent bake sale since they weren’t allowed to use Venmo.

“We had a bake sale Oct. 25 and one of the problems was that people came up to me and were like, ‘I don’t have cash, can you take Venmo?’” Mauro said. “I have to say I can’t do that according to the rules. As much as I wanted to, I can’t.”

The club hasn’t needed to use Venmo because they didn’t need to fundraise until recently, Mauro said.

Students have been encouraged to use the SGA-approved purchasing portal, Al-Namee said.

“There are sources within the University that students are able to use to collect that amount of money and keep track of what is being collected at events,” Al-Namee said.

Approved sources include the SGA-approved purchasing portal.

For years, SGA has had a rule that if a club uses Venmo three times, there would be consequences, Al-Namee said. Almost every club has exceeded those three strikes.