In this week’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, organizations had the opportunity to appeal their budgets after allocation hearings held on March 29 and 30 by the Student Finance Committee (SFC).
A motion to fast-track approval of the budget in order to have appeals heard and decided on in the same meeting was passed and proceedings began with the first appeal from the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.
The appeal was for a requested $800 for the Speech-Language-Hearing-Association of Virginia (SHAV) Conference, $200 for a literacy fair and $10 for non-academic advertising to be reinstated.
SGA Vice President Catherine Swinsky said there was miscommunication in the group’s budget hearing on this topic which went against SFC bylaws that lead to the requests being cut.
During discussion, Junior Class President Haleigh Pannell moved to allocate $800 for the SHAV Conference and $300 to Literacy Fair; the motion was passed.
The next appeal came from Lancer Productions, represented by Vice President of Marketing Mariah Snoddy, Vice President of Administration Jaiden Ivey, Director of Late Night Natalie Smith and Director of Street Team Tallesha Woodson. According to Snoddy, it was estimated that Lancer Productions would only have around $800 per event while events are normally around one to two thousand dollars.
Per Ivey, the current budget would only allow for a DJ and “maybe one maybe two performers along with it.”
When the floor opened, Senior Class President David Gills moved to raise Lancer Productions item General Programming from $40,000 to $50,000. Gills said since the item Lancer Cinema and the item Issues and Awareness Events were fully cut to zero, that the funds should be increased to even the scale after the organization lost two events they had last year.
Senator Joseph Hyman said $40,000 is a lot of money and didn’t feel the increase was necessary.
Gills said for organizations to put on good programming they have to have a decent amount of money, saying $40,000 is not a lot of money when in the grand scheme $50,000 would provide the organization with enough money to do a decent amount of programs and give the campus what it needs.
Hyman proposed a friendly amendment of only a $5,000 increase instead of $10,000, which Gills declined. Hyman then agreed to make the amendment unfriendly.
After more discussion, the unfriendly amendment failed, coupled with the original request to raise the number to $50,000 also failing.
Global Leaders President Ben Lambert came to appeal funding for event supplies, saying the group puts on three to four social events every semester that cost around $100 each.
Hyman moved to increase the budget for event supplies from $250 to $500 to help the group with their events.
Sophomore Class President Brandon Bowen proposed a friendly amendment to lower the number from $500 to $400. Hyman declined, making the amendment unfriendly.
The unfriendly amendment passed, lowering the amount to $400, and the new total budget was passed.
Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) represented by President Kathryn Autrey and Vice President Aine Dwyer came to the meeting with a reconfigured budget in order to send four members to the PRSSA International Conference in San Diego, California - the budget was approved.
From the gallery, Lucas Hobson expressed that while he supports executive members of SGA being compensated, he did not feel it was appropriate for student activity fees to be used and not have the student body vote on it.
According to President Josh Darst, a committee consisting of two SGA seniors, two non-members of SGA and two advisers made the final decision to compensate executive SGA members. Darst added that he did not have a say in the decision.
Junior Emma Giambalvo asked why student activity fees are being used in the decision, in which Darst said there is no other funding alternative for SGA. Giambalvo then questioned if SGA could use their agency account - Darst said he didn’t know if SGA could legally use their agency account then added the organization does not have the funds to do that.
Gills said the discussion should be tabled until next week due to the amount of debate on the situation, saying that a lot of students did not know about it, but it was not tabled.
Hyman moved to amend IFC’s “AFLV Conference Registration” request from $5,000 to $2,500, which failed.
The 2019-20 fiscal year budget was approved at $707,474.80.
During open forum, Emma Giambalvo and Karlie Walter informed Senate of how the overall budget for the Upchurch University Center student staff being cut leads to students not being able to work on weekends. According to Walter, the information desk being closed on the weekends prohibits resources for prospective students that tour the building.
Darst told SGA that the issue is something they must look into because slashing the budget for Upchurch is not protecting the interest of the students.
Fishing Club was approved as an official campus organization.
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday April 16 at 3:45 p.m. in the Wilson Chamber located in Upchurch University Center.