SGA approves ad hoc committee, reflects on finance requests

Published by , Author: Hannah Shumsky - Assistant News Editor, Date: December 5, 2018

The Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) senate discussed the purposes of finance requests for student organizations at their final formal meeting of the semester on Monday night.

In old business, the senate voted to approve an ad hoc committee to lead a possible senate restructure led by commuter senator Maggie Calvert, a motion that was tabled at a previous formal meeting.

At SGA’s formal meeting on Nov. 19, Matthew Lerman, graduate senator, motioned to have the executive board members on the committee serve as ex-officio members. At Monday night’s formal, he motioned for only one executive board member—Elizabeth Hernandez, Logan Tupper or Chadwick Burdick—to have a vote in the committee.

Lerman described his motion as a “middle ground” based on previous senate discussions.

“I feel like that would be a good meet in the middle from where we’ve had our discussions,” Lerman said.

Hernandez, vice president of student and academic affairs, said one vote may not truly represent all of the executive board.

“That draws another issue because you’re assuming that my vote represents all of e-board, and that may not be the case,” Hernandez said.

Lerman’s motion from Monday night failed with seven yeas, 17 nays and two abstentions.

Hernandez motioned to amend the original motion to specify that President Dallas Kline and Parliamentarian Eric Lehman will serve as ex-officio members. The amended motion passed with 19 yeas, one nay and one abstention. On the committee, senators Calvert, Lerman, Martha Dunkelberger, Corinne Rockefeller, Corinne Zeni and Joseph Sciuto will join Hernandez, Tupper and Burdick as voting members.

In finance requests, the senate approved $8,787.34 in new initiative requests from University Program Board, Sigma Gamma Epsilon, WSRU-TV, Wrestling Club, and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance. The senate also approved a capital request from Flute Choir for $9,538 for two flutes. This leaves SGA with $24,208.17 in budgetary reserves and $47,312.75 in capital reserves.

During the discussion of Flute Choir’s request, Sciuto, Watson Hall senator, expressed concern over lack of fundraising from some organizations who submit finance requests.

“I feel like we’re making a lot of big monetary value motions, and I’m also getting kind of discouraged because no one’s ever putting in an effort to help contribute to that,” Sciuto said. “I get we’re supposed to enable students, but it’s kind of discouraging when we’re handing out all this money without really thinking about it.”

Tupper, vice president of finance, said he and the finance committee asks each organization that submits a request if they completed any fundraising.

“They always say yes,” Tupper said.

The finance committee checks each finance request to ensure the request falls within policy and the requesting organization cuts down on costs before advancing the request to the senate.

“We’re setting up clubs to be responsible with what they’re asking for,” Tupper said. “That’s the whole point of them being sent to committee and senate having a conversation about it.

Wendy Leitera, SGA advisor and business manager, explained that the student activity fee is collected by the university each semester and distributed to SGA. From there, SGA allocates budgets for recognized organizations and new initiatives. This year’s student activity fee was $202.55 for full-time undergraduate students or $243.81 for full-time graduate students.

“It’s constantly a moving target,” Leitera said. “We have to do a lot of projections based on enrollment, based on if there will be tuition increases, and then we as an organization have the responsibility to allocate this fees back out to the students.”

For the 2018-19 academic year, SGA approved a budget of $2,214,425.81 in April 2018. SGA began the fall 2018 semester with $100,000 in capital reserves and $92,732.19 in budgetary reserves.

At the beginning of next semester, the finance committee may recommend an amount of money to transfer from the reserves to the budgetary and/or capital reserves. Tupper anticipates that his committee will recommend adding at least $50,000 to budgetary reserves in order to fund more new initiatives.

“That’s something we’ll talk about in finance committee: how much we want to take from the reserves to put back into the budgetary reserves for clubs to take out new initiatives,” Tupper said.

Next semester, SGA will approve a budget for the 2019-20 academic year. Tupper added that more information for student organizations to request a budget will be announced at the beginning of next semester.

In other new business, Actuarial Science Club became a recognized organization. President Kline also issued a proclamation commending the football on ending their season in the third round of the NCAA Division II playoffs and an overall record of 11-3.

SGA’s first formal meeting of the spring 2019 semester will be on Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Smith Student Center Theater.

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Hannah is a senior secondary English education major and communication minor entering her third year on The Rocket staff and her second year as editor-in-chief. Previously, she served as assistant news editor and covered Student Government Association affairs. After graduation, she hopes to teach English, communications and journalism to high school students. Hannah has won numerous awards for her writing and design work with The Rocket and was named SRU's Student Leader of the Year in 2020. Outside of The Rocket, Hannah is also part of WSRU-TV, Sigma Tau Delta and the Honors College.