At their second informal meeting of the year, the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SRSGA) approved the renewal of the stipend budget for the 2021-2022 academic year in full.
The total budget for stipends is $82,955. It is used for the payroll of the select executive boards members of SRSGA, who make up 35% of that budget, along with The Rocket (26%), University Program Board (UPB) (24%), WSRUTV (13%) and Sound and Literary Arts Book (SLAB) (2%).
Stipends are funded by SRSGA vending machines which are set up across campus.
The motion had previously been tabled by the Senate at the last formal meeting of the spring semester with the former vice president of finance, Dean Chaser, in charge of restructuring the proposal for this semester. That proposal, a 10% cut to SRSGA stipends with all other organizations projected to be cut by 50%, was met with strong resistance last spring.
What would happen to stipends was also up in the air for a few weeks after Chasser stepped down from the vice president of finance position.
Concern with full funding was mentioned during the open forum from Business Senator Amanda Brock. She said the finance committee should consider cutting the stipends from 75% to 80% instead of no cuts due to possible inconsistent income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President of Finance Sydney Rezzetano assured everyone that the SRSGA reserve was able to sustain the same stipend amount for the next three years without issue, no matter the varying income.
“I trust Sydney and the finance committee that they came to the proper decision,” Senator Froelick said in support of renewing the stipends at 100%.
Representatives from UPB executive board attended the meeting and spoke out in support of keeping the stipends as they were from the previous year.
“On behalf of the University Program Board, we’re very appreciative of VP Rezzetano’s decision and the finance committee’s work to be able to fund us at 100%,” Amy Myers, director of speakers for UPB, said. “And we accepted our positions with the knowledge and the understanding that we were going to be paid with that 100% stipend.”
All SRSGA members voted for the motion, with vice presidents Aiden Donnelly, Grant Warmbein and Rezzetano abstaining.
While the large cuts proposed last semester were met with discontent from those organizations at the time, many also felt the communication process between organizations and the SRSGA was little to non-existent.
Debate and discussion on the motion in April boiled over, culminating with former WSRU-FM General Manager Adam Schauer, who was cut off from speaking by then-SRSGA President Joey Scuito just a minute into his time once Schauer discussed how he felt he was improperly informed about the proposed cuts. At the time, Schauer said he heard about the proposed cuts “through the grapevine.”
“To say you feel you’ve been disrespected by our response,” Schauer, the 2021 Student Leader of the Year, said. “You have been disrespectful since the start.”
Worries about communication between the governing body and organizations affected carried over into the fall semester when Speaker of the Senate Hannah D’Egidio emailed advisors and members of organizations affected by the stipend decision to invite them to attend the SRSGA informal meeting with only a day’s notice on Labor Day. In that email exchange, Brittany Fleming, advisor for The Rocket, and Nick Artman, advisor for WSRU-FM, said they appreciated being involved in the process but both would not be able to attend due to the short notice.
Members of both organizations were able to attend the meeting and have their issues addressed.
The SRSGA will hold their next formal meeting Monday, September 27 at 5 p.m. at the Smith Student Center Theater. The SRSGA also encourages students to stay involved with the body by attending their informal meetings, held on off-weeks of formal meeting and committee meetings. Details can be found on CORE.