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CPA here. I feel your pain regarding reimbursements. Here's an explanation that doesn't require conspiracy.

An accounts payable department has two main concerns that slow down the issuance of a payment. First, they want to guard against embezzlement, which typically is done by requiring that no single person in the department can approve and issue a payment.

Second, they want to make sure their reimbursements comply with IRS requirements for what's called an "accountable plan". Without an accountable plan, reimbursements are required to be reported as taxable income to the recipient, which no one wants, obviously; the IRS requirements mostly amount to documenting that the expenses claimed by the employee are correct in amount and have a business purpose.

Both of these concerns are real and the processes to address them are well-intended, but the tradeoff is that payments take longer to issue. And the staff in the A/P department usually have more incentive to make the systems more complex than they do to make sure that payments are issued quickly, so unless leadership outside the department is holding them accountable that's exactly what will happen.

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A number of universities have been clamping down on conservative Christian student organizations, which has resulted in some lawsuits. The main issue is universities demanding that membership AND leadership of all student organizations be open to all, regardless of religious beliefs. For the most part, mainline-type student organizations have been fine with this requirement (which I suppose we might say has also applied to mainline clergy since at least the days of John Shelby Spong).

So my presumption, if I were asked on this survey, is that the "Christian" category is talking about funding liberal mainline organizations while denying funds to banned conservative evangelical and Catholic organizations. In which case I'd say "Defund all of them, and slash the administration's pay while you're at it."

I wonder what atheist/liberal support for funding student organizations would look like if we asked about "Christian organizations affiliated with churches that do not affirm LGBTQ lifestyles and do not permit women in ministry." I would guess they would be by far the lowest bars on that graph.

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The reason we have rules, some as law, some as policy, is to prevent arbitrariness of entitlement. EIU may have people or groups they don't want to fund, but there are policies that determine entilement. Within my lifetime, though not the students' or Ryans', people could seat who they want at their cafe, rent a hotel room to who they want, and hire who they want. In most recorded speeches of George Wallace, the most common single word was Freedom, the right of people to be arbitrary and express their preferences. Not so anymore. Indeed, the Civil Service, which some EIU grads will enter and has been around some 150 years is determined around access based on policy, not on the druthers of a person in authority. Moreover, when some EIU students become doctors and lawyers, they will learn very quickly that they have to be professional with people and groups that bother them, a learning curve where current events suggest the police lag behind. So while those polled may express their preferences, the decisions are made by a committee following procedures with rules of the University enforces and forums for challenges honored.

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Reimbursement is a familiar problem. I used to work as a technician at universities. When building an electronic gadget I normally bought needed parts at an electronics store near campus. Once I went through the week-long red tape to get a purchase order, but the store said they got tired of the red tape to get THEIR reimbursement, so they only took cash.

The solution to the campus groups is the same. If colleges stopped reimbursing SOME groups and let students pay cash for all clubs, there wouldn't be any legal problems.

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Much thanks for the excellent insight into reimbursements...and not just in academia!!!

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I find all this very interested but I'm concerned that the liberal-conservative gap you find is a result of the selection of groups for which you decided to ask opinions on. Can you make your results more robust by showing that these are the most common groups to receive RSO funds across different universities? Even then, seeing that conservatives are less likely to accept financial support for student organizations could be a result of which ideology has groups have found it easier to recruit members and sustain recurring events. I think this distinction is useful if we want to learn whether the conservative ideology is itself exclusive or intolerant (which I think is most likely to be occurring hear), or if it's this gap is the result of group economics and that the gap would be flipped if the situation was different.

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Did they even ask about a white student group?

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