The University of Wyoming’s student government is ramping up accountability for groups on campus. A new policy implemented this fall suspends registered student organizations from ASUW funding if found in violation of financial policies.
The first group to be suspended under the new policy was the UW chapter of Turning Point USA. The group brought Dennis Prager, conservative radio personality, to speak on campus this fall.
Turning Point’s UW chapter president Jessica Leach said other student groups have made mistakes and yet they have not been suspended from funding. UW student government President Ben Wetzel said that’s because it’s a brand new policy put in place this fall, and the decision has nothing to do with the content of Prager’s talk.
“All of the time the suspension was discussed, the content was never discussed,” said Wetzel. “I don’t think we once during the hearing or the appeal mentioned what their views were, what the event was, it was solely regarding the fact that they had received $10,000 of student fee money and they had misused them.”
Wetzel added that Turning Point USA is also not the only registered student organization — or RSO — under scrutiny.
“Where we are at right now, is that we are undergoing an audit of every single RSO Funding Board funded event of the entire semester, and any groups that we have findings of violations we’ll send through the suspension process as well,” explained Wetzel.
Turning Point USA was suspended for several reasons, including using an outside ticketing service which limited the group's ability to prioritize student attendance of the event. The suspension, according to Wetzel, is for one calendar year, ending on January 1, 2019. Turning Point USA already had one appeal turned down, and has filed a second one.
Wetzel said the decision to push student groups to more strictly adhere to policies is about using student fees that support registered student organizations responsibly. A suspension does not bar student groups from receiving department funding or private donations, according to Wetzel, and groups can still reserve rooms and get assistance with event planning.