The Student Government Association has been asked, by higher-ups in the controller’s office, to make sure all money coming in to student clubs is routed through University Tickets, a third-party vendor.
This includes club membership dues, merchandise sales and ticket sales to members of the UVM community and beyond. Cash sales are, for the moment, prohibited.
University Tickets assesses a fee of $1 per transaction plus a 4 percent credit card fee. This fee is absurdly high for many clubs who sell tickets to events on campus (including the University Players, of which I am President); tickets are often in the range of $5-$15, and the fees would amount to up to
an extra 24 percent of the cost of tickets going to this outside vendor.
Should the clubs choose to subsidize this cost with their own funds, they will not bring in their expected income over the year, hampering their ability to support students’ extracurricular activities.
The basis for this decision, besides the belief that student leaders are not trustworthy enough to responsibly care for their clubs’ funds, was an attempt to save money by reducing student clubs’ use of the Cashier’s Office. The office had apparently had to add a part-time employee to assist with the clubs’ needs.
But the costs saved by moving to this system are not true savings. Instead, the costs are borne by the students who are involved with the clubs, either as active members or as patrons. In addition, the SGA has had to hire its own part- time employee to assist clubs with University Tickets.
This is another example of Incentive-Based Budgeting missing the larger picture. The University of Vermont is an organization where administration loves to remind the faculty, “the students are the customers.”
This move hurts the “customers” in order to make one unit’s budget sheet look nicer.
Perhaps the University could instead trim down its administrative ranks and salaries, which have ballooned in the past 15 years.