Creating a space for club sports; Why FAST is better for club sports than FinCom

As club/varsity athletes on the Task Force, we were heavily invested in how funding would work under the new structure. Club sports and other competitive groups are familiar with getting money through CC’s previous financial system (FinCom), so the prospect of replacing CC with the Three Pillars naturally concerns many current treasurers and members of those groups. For many students involved in competitive groups, a widespread worry was that the Facilitators for Allocating Student Taxes (FAST), the new funding mechanism, will make it more difficult to get money. To assuage these fears, we collectively tried to design FAST with the hope of making sure that the largest sector of funding will be a boon to the groups that comprise it.

At first glance, the sector’s allocation for competitive groups seems to be smaller than their representation on campus would suggest; since 60% of students at Williams identify as athletes, why are club sports only receiving 31% of the Student Activities Tax? For reference, the 31% figure amounts to roughly $180,000. Surely they were spending more in previous years? In truth, this figure is an increase in funding for club sports when compared to previous years (looking at 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19). We also increased the nationals fund to a figure that we believe is high enough to fund even the best nationals year – and because it has been set up so the nationals fund rolls over into the general club sports budget the following year, this means that a year in which fewer teams qualify for nationals results in a budget surplus the following year. We wanted to create a system where club sports do not feel as if they have been financially punished for not spending all of their nationals money, and this is the solution that we came up with.

For club sports treasurers, FAST has the potential to be much less stressful to interact with compared to FinCom. Two of us on the Task Force served on FinCom for a year, and at many points we had to make ridiculous comparisons between funding an event for a club sport instead of another type of event. In the past, many of the arguments around funding involved pitting club sports against every other group on campus, which hurt their chances of getting funding. By now having a specific pot of money set aside solely for club sports, FAST will never have to make the distinction between funding groups like Rugby vs. NovelTeas – we believe that competitive teams deserve to have a space on this campus, and we can ensure this by giving them their own sector.

Having spent the better part of a month designing this new student government, we sincerely believe that all groups and individuals on campus are better off replacing CC with the Three Pillars. We decided to write this op-ed from the angle of competitive teams because treasurers and members reached out to us with questions, but us choosing to not mention the other sectors should not diminish the efforts that went into trying to make a structure that will benefit all of the other groups that make up the remaining four sectors. We want to make a funding body that can best support this campus, and we hope the readers of this piece feel the same. If you agree, please vote yes for the Three Pillars.

Porter Johnson ’21 is a computer science and mathematics major from Burke, Va. Tyler Johnson ’21 is an economics major from Burke, Va. Natalie Silver ’22 is from Ridgefield, Conn.