On Tuesday, April 7, the Student Government Association (SGA) made a final decision on if the Polo Club would lose their funding or not. “After almost six full months of review, Senate was able to make a final decision in consultation with team members, alums, and everyone else involved,” said SGA President Addison Bennett ’16. The members of the SGA senate voted unanimously in support of a final Polo Club decision. The main points of the decision are generally the same as the SGA proposal Polo Club proposal from before spring break, but a few changes have been made.
At the SGA senate meeting on April 7, Sam Harris ’15, SGA Vice President for Financial Affairs, said in summary of the proposal, “we will continue to support the team with $30,000 per year during the club’s transition to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If the club goes over this budget Mr. Orthwein will cover all costs incurred. SGA will also establish a contingency fund, but if these funds are dipped into and not paid back by the end of the year the club will be dechartered.” Megan Schachter ’17 SGA Vice President for Club Affairs then followed by saying, “four years from now, the club’s endowment must increase to so that each fiscal year they will receive about $15,000 per year from the endowment.”
The final decision includes the following:
- For the next four years Skidmore Polo will continue as an SGA-affiliated club. They will receive an annual budget of $30,000. This budget cannot be increased for any reason, and the club is not eligible to receive supplemental funding from SGA.
- By June 1, 2019 the Polo club must be an independent 501 (c)(3). SGA will then amend their charter to transition the Club to an unbudgeted status.
- Will Orthwein, a member of the Alumni Board, will act as a guarantor agreeing to cover any expense above $30,000 that the team is unable to cover, through fundraising, during the teams transition to an 501 (c) (3)
- SGA will establish a fund of $10,000 to cover any unexpected costs throughout the next four-year, that the club cannot pay through fundraising and or Mr. Will Orthwein cannot pay. If the fund is used and the debt is not repaid in full by the end of the fiscal year the Polo Club will be automatically dechartered.
- By June 1, 2019 SGA Senate recommends Polo raise its endowment to $140,000. This way the supplemental endowment spending would be about $10,000 per year. Senate also recommends that Polo Club report to Senate each semester until June 1, 2019 with updates on how the transitioning process is going.
- Any other applicable requirements set by the office of advancement, office of student affairs and office of finance and administration must be followed in order for the club to compete on Skidmore’s behalf.
- SGA senate will require and authorize 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. The contract goes over the agreed upon terms with the Polo Club and its leaders, guarantors and the relevant Skidmore offices.
- If the club fails to successfully create the independent 501 (c) (3), by the agreed upon date, a vote by a 5/6th majority of the SGA senate to revoke the clubs charter for any reasons in line with the student body constitution or polices or the failure of any Polo Club guarantors or the clubs fundraising to pay an outstanding cost by the end of the fiscal year will all trigger automatic dechartering of the club.
“I'm proud we were able to come to this compromise agreement, and while it's not everything both sides wanted, I believe it's a sustainable solution that gives both sides what they want in the end,” Bennett said.
The Polo club president, Bill Miller ’15, said in response to the decision, “it was a long process but we're ecstatic to have come to a working solution with the Student Government. We feel that this proposal will ensure a strong, sustainable future for our club as we grow both our competitive and instructional programs. It is an honor to leave the club in a positive light after I graduate, and I am looking forward to watching its success in the coming years.”
As the votes came in from SGA during their April 7 session, Skidmore Polo posted to their Facebook page: “the votes are in! Skid Polo lives on.”