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Student Council approves new CIOs, hears from Madison House Co-Chair

The Council also amended its Endowment Advisory Council bylaws and approved changes to Student Activities Fee guidelines

To be officially considered a CIO as per Student Council legislation, an organization must involve at least 10 members, with more than half of the involved members being students.
To be officially considered a CIO as per Student Council legislation, an organization must involve at least 10 members, with more than half of the involved members being students.

Student Council members approved 17 student organizations for Contracted Independent Organization status at a general body meeting Tuesday. Organizations spanned across several spheres, from cultural and identity-based groups, such as the Traditional Chinese Dance Team, to arts and entertainment, such as the Bluegrass club. Student Council also heard a presentation from Madison House members, amended bylaws for its Endowment Advisory Council and approved changes to Student Activities Fee guidelines.

During the public comments section of the meeting, student representatives from various groups who applied for CIO status presented a brief explanation of their organizations’ past activities, larger goals and central missions. In the following legislative session, Student Council unanimously voted to approve all of the proposed organizations.

According to Andreas Masiakos, Student Council’s representative body chair and third-year College student, the Student Council does not individually vet the organizations based on factors aside from specific criteria for their eligibility. 

“The only reason we could vote against approving organizations is if they do not meet these eligibility requirements,” Masiakos said. “Obviously, all the organizations that are up for approval tonight have been vetted [and] have all met the requirements.”

To be officially considered a CIO as per Student Council legislation, an organization must have at least 10 members, with more than half being students. All groups must include a financial officer and president, and groups are required to provide the Student Council with an updated copy of its constitution and list of officers. Finally, groups must sign the CIO agreement and non-discrimination policy as well as formulate a business plan to prove the operational sustainability of their group. 

As a CIO, student groups receive several benefits, including eligibility for SAF funds, which are appropriated throughout the year across a series of rolling deadlines. CIOs may also use University facilities and services.

Student Council also heard a presentation from student board members of Madison House, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to developing, coordinating and creating volunteer opportunities for University students to serve the greater Charlottesville area. According to Holly Sims, Student Council vice president for administration and graduate Batten student, Madison House has had a longstanding partnership with the Student Council. 

Madison House board members Kathryn Ellis, co-chair and fourth-year College student, Alex Perze, member and fourth-year College student, Laura Ray, member and fourth-year Batten student and Neha Pai, member and third-year College student, gave the presentation. They discussed Madison House’s mission and offered an inside look at operations strategies for prospective CIO representatives at the meeting. 

Sims said Madison House was invited to present at the meeting in part due to the fact that the organization receives $50,000 annually from Student Council's Student Activities Fee funds. 

Student Council also unanimously passed SB24-06, a bill that amended the Endowment Advisory Council bylaws, changing them to better reflect the perspectives of first generation low income students. The EAC originally included two Student Council officers, which the bill changed to include a student member of the Hoos First Advisory Committee and a representative of the University’s Office of Advancement. 

Student Council first considered SB24-06 in February, but tabled the resolution in accordance with Student Council’s bylaws, which require that any legislation proposing a change to the bylaws be discussed at General Body meetings at least twice before it is voted on. 

Student Council created the EAC to provide feedback on how to allocate the $750,000 endowment fund dedicated to Student Council. Announced in November, the endowment fund will be spread evenly for Student Council’s use over the next three years. Much of the funds have been channeled to bolster the Support and Access Services branch, improving services such as the student legal fund and airport transportation routes from Charlottesville to Richmond and Northern Virginia.

Finally, Student Council passed SB24-08, reforming SAF guidelines to reflect rising costs associated with inflation, as well as getting rid of redundancies in the current guidelines. The specific changes the bill would introduce were not discussed in detail.

Student Council will meet again Tuesday.

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