The Slippery Rock Student Government Association held their first public meeting of the year last night, with major changes already being made to kick off the semester. Sophia Sarver, a Leadership major and four year veteran of SGA, was elected by her fellow senators to fill the previously vacant executive board position of Vice President of Internal Affairs. Sarver was the leading vote-getter over Malika Fields, who had run to be on the executive board during last spring’s elections.
“I have been on SGA for four years and have been elected in every way possible,” Sarver said. “I took a long look at what I feel the responsibilities of VP of Internal Affairs should be. The main areas I would like to devote the most of my time towards are fundraising, group bonding activities, and addressing larger scale projects like Rising Star that have become an expectation for this position over the years.”
Sarver was sworn in immediately following the vote and sat with her fellow executive board members for the remainder of the meeting.
In addition to the elections, the 2018-19 Student Activity Fee Budget was approved at $2,308,118, a five percent increase from this year’s budget. Reasons for the increase were attributed to an increase in enrollment (6.4 percent since 2014-15) and the rising cost of tuition at Slippery Rock (12.5 percent since 2014-15). The measure was passed with only one dissenting vote from Graduate Senator Chris Kostelnik, who fears that fellow grad students won’t benefit from this increase.
“I think this is great for students at Slippery Rock, but grad students are not going see much of these funds go their way. I could not in good conscience vote for a measure that I felt did not benefit those who I represent as a graduate senator,” Kostelnik said.
There was much discussion on a measure that would allow eligible student groups to request unlimited budgets for the 2018-19 academic year. Many senators felt as though the language of the measure was flawed, and a motion was made to change the term “unlimited” to “no cap”. This amendment was passed with one dissenting vote.
Vice President of Finance Riley Keffer clarified that this change would allow student organizations to receive the funds they need in a more efficient way.
“We discussed in committee last week about switching the budgeting process. Usually, we have event-based budgeting with new initiative requests made on top of that capped budget. We want to give student groups the opportunity to request the necessary funds. Although there will be no limit on these requests, whether or not these clubs or organizations will receive this funding will still be at our discretion,” Keffer said.
Groups can qualify as eligible if they have been a recognized organization for at least four months and follow the proper application process. This measure was passed with only one dissenting vote by Speaker Josh Jenkins.
Parliamentarian Brennan Smith proposed new legislation that would amend SRSGA’s constitution, allowing the recognition of the position and duties of the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. This new position would serve as the head of the SGA social justice committee, which was also moved by Parliamentarian Smith to be recognized as a standing committee. Finally, a third amendment was proposed to reflect these changes in the duties of the proposed position.
These constitutional changes were voted to be tabled by SRSGA for further discussion, as per their constitution. SRSGA will hold an open forum before the next formal meeting for any students interested in the amendments. SRSGA plans to bring the amendments back to the floor at their next formal meeting.
The minutes of the Dec. 4, 2017 formal meeting were approved, along with a $532.90 new initiative request by Women’s Club Volleyball for gas reimbursement.
President Rachel Lawler wanted to emphasize student awareness and engagement in the ongoing search for SRU’s new University President. Student involvement in the search is viewed as a top priority for Lawler and SRSGA as a whole.
“The interviews for the presidency will start the week of Feb. 12 and the next Council of Trustees meeting will take place on March 23,” Lawler said. “We are hoping to see students really immerse themselves in this process and stay informed as we move closer to finding out who our next president will be.”
The next formal Senate meeting of SRSGA will be held on Feb. 12, at 8:45 pm in the Smith Student Center Theater.