By Noa Maltzman ’18, News Editor
Over the past few months, the Student Government Association (SGA) has been reviewing the Skidmore Polo Club (Skidmore News has previously reported on the situation in two articles, published earlier this academic year, that can be found here and here), but as of March 8, SGA has come up with a proposal.
The eight parts to the proposal are as follows:
1) For the next 4 academic years, the Skidmore Polo Club will continue as an SGA-affiliated club, and it will receive a $30,000 budget from SGA during that time. The budget is not eligible to be increased at any time for any reason, and the club will not be eligible to receive supplemental funding allocations at any time.
2) The team and its alumni will immediately begin the process of transitioning the program to an independent 501(c)(3). SGA will work in coordination with the Offices of Advancement and Leadership Activities, in addition to the team, to assist in this transition. By June 1, 2019, the team must be fully transitioned to this independent organization. SGA will amend the Polo Club’s charter to transition the Club to an unbudgeted status. SGA will administer the Polo Club's endowment, and transfer the annual interest from the endowment to the 501(c)(3), but no funding from the Student Activity Fee will be allocated to the Polo Club. The Polo Club will be eligible to receive administrative support and all other benefits associated with being a chartered club from both SGA and Skidmore College and will be able to compete on behalf of the Skidmore.
3) Mr. Orthwein and/or other willing and able supporters of Skidmore Polo will enter into a legally binding agreement with SGA, the Office of Advancement, the Office of Finance & Administration, and the Office of Leadership Activities. These supporters will act as guarantors and agree to cover any expenses above $30,000 that the team is unable to cover through its fundraising activity.
4) SGA may be willing to establish a contingency fund to cover unexpected costs throughout the next four academic years in case of emergency to ensure that, in the event Mr. Orthwein is unable to perform the terms of the contract, emergency and/or horse care related expenses will be paid. In the event that the contingency fund is utilized, the Polo Club will be automatically dechartered. The debt must be covered, in full, by the end of each fiscal year.
5) SGA will require the Polo Club to increase its endowment to $200,000 by June 1st, 2018, and $300,000 by June 1st, 2021. SGA will administer the endowment in conjunction with the Office of Advancement and the Office of Leadership Activities. This is to create a sustainable source of revenue for the team that is dependent on neither a continuous donor base nor SGA’s willingness to fund the team.
6) Any other applicable requirements set forth by the Offices of Advancement, Student Affairs, and Finance & Administration to allow the team to compete on behalf of Skidmore College.
7) The SGA Senate will empower the SGA President, Vice President for Financial Affairs, and Vice President for Club Affairs to enter into a legally binding contract on behalf of SGA that satisfies the agreed upon terms with the Polo Club and its leaders, those individuals acting as guarantors, and Skidmore College via relevant offices and administrators.
8) SGA retains the right, by a 5/6th majority vote by the SGA Senate, or by a determination of the SGA Judicial Board, to revoke the Polo Club’s charter for any reason afforded to those bodies by the Student Body Constitution or applicable SGA policies.
If the following conditions or events were to occur, it would trigger an automatic dechartering of the Skidmore College Polo Club:
- The Polo Club's failure to achieve fundraising goals included in this agreement by the agreed upon dates. The SGA VP for Financial Affairs, will, having confirmed all fundraising benchmarks with the Offices of Advancement and Leadership Activities, and Finance & Administration, report such a failure to the SGA Senate, SGA Executive Committee, and VP for Club Affairs, and the club will automatically lose its recognition and support from SGA.
- The failure to successfully create an independent 501(c)(3), registered with the Internal Revenue Service, by the agreed upon date.
- A vote by a 5/6th majority of the SGA senate or a determination by the SGA Judicial Board to revoke the club's charter for any reason afforded to those bodies by the student body constitution and applicable SGA policies.
- The failure of any Polo Club guarantors to pay an outstanding balance the club incurs and the club's inability to fundraise to pay the excess costs by the end of the fiscal year in question.
This proposal was brought up for discussion at SGA’s weekly Senate meeting on Tuesday, March 10. It is currently unknown when, or if there will be a vote on this proposal. SGA President Addison Bennett ’16 commented, “I continue to hope that we will soon reach a point where all parties agree on a workable solution that ensures we are taking care of the financial risks, the administrative involvement, and the long term future of the program.”