Sac State ASI changes financial policy for clubs following CSU San Marcos’ anti-abortion club lawsuit

Strategic priorities focus on anti-racism efforts and voter registration on campus


Screenshot via Zoom.

Sacramento State’s Associated Students, Inc. board of directors voted to change how funding for clubs is allocated in order to be more unbiased Wednesday. The board also approved its strategic priorities for the year, focusing on anti-racism and advocacy.

Camryn Dadey

The Sacramento State Associated Students, Inc. Board of Directors voted to approve their strategic priorities for the academic year, changing how funding for clubs is determined and focusing on increasing participation in civic engagement in their meeting Wednesday.

The board voted to approve an operating rule change regarding Dollars for Clubs and Organizations, also known as DOCs, which are grants given to on-campus clubs and organizations to fund events and other activities.

“We had to make some changes to the operating rules for DOC because of some legal matters with the ASI at another CSU,” said Prabhjyot Shinh, vice president of finance. “That required making DOC funding more viewpoint-neutral.”

The president of the anti-abortion club “Students for Life” at CSU San Marcos sued the CSU chancellor and university president because the campus’s ASI denied the club funding to host a pro-life speaker, according to the Cougar Chronicle

Viewpoint-neutral funding is “a process in which all funding or allocation decisions are made pursuant to narrow, objective, and definite standards, and which does not involve the exercise of judgment… concerning the content of the event, or is otherwise affected in any way by the viewpoint of a student organization or the proposed event,” according to the ASI financial policy.

This change means that DOC funding will no longer be discussed by a committee but instead by the vice president of finance. The beliefs of the club — whether they are religious, political or of any opinion held by the club — will not be taken into consideration when allocating funds, in order for ASI to maintain neutrality.

“ASI is taking the stance of neutrality, that our viewpoints are neutral, that we’re not taking any subjective information in funding decisions,” said Mark Montavo, ASI’s finance and administrative director. 

ASI has set aside $165,000 in the budget for DOC funding this academic year, and each club is eligible to receive up to $600.

ASI also approved to schedule a review of campus police department procedures. By mid-year, ASI’s goal is to “increase implicit and explicit bias screenings in hiring and promotion,” the legislation states.

This priority falls under ASI’s year-long goal to “promote and engage with antiracism, advocacy and activism opportunities,” according to their strategic priorities. 

Another confirmed priority of the board is the ‘Buzz the Ballot’ campaign, which aims to educate Sac State students on the upcoming 2020 election. 

ASI plans to distribute an online voter information handbook and will collaborate with campus partners to hold educational sessions discussing candidates and legislation in a nonpartisan manner by Nov. 3.

ASI will also participate in the Ballot Bowl, a statewide competition between universities and sponsored by the state government to register students to vote.

“After checking Sacramento State’s standing in the Ballot Bowl, we are at 460 registered voters,” Noah Marty, ASI president, said. “I think that 800 is very much something we can do, and I want to work towards accomplishing that.”