This year’s Student Government Association elections are taking longer than anticipated, as the unofficial results for the single contested position, executive board president, have been appealed.
A meeting to discuss the appeal was held after Monday’s regular SGA meeting. Official results are expected to be announced sometime next week.
The installation ceremony for the rest of the senators will be April 9 and the joint session of the old and new senators will be next Monday’s meeting.
Student Life Chair Jon Chowansky announced that GDS is now considering a new meal plan option for commuter students. The plan would have 80 meals per semester, $150 dining dollars, and three guest meals. It would cost $625.
SGA Faculty Adviser Sarah Clifford called attention to the fact that this new meal plan is entirely thanks to the work of the SGA.
However, the focus of Monday night’s meeting was the budget standards the Senate will implement for next year, proposed by Executive Board Treasurer Sean Kennedy.
Five changes Kennedy sought to make to the current standards, which were discussed Monday and will continue to be discussed, and voted upon at the joint session next week.
One proposed change would prevent the SGA Finance Committee from awarding more money to Tier II and III clubs than they spent and fundraised during the previous academic year.
Another proposed change would effect funding limits for individual programs. A club or organization asking for $3,000 or more for an event would have to come before the entire SGA rather than just the Finance Committee, as it has been in the past and is currently.
Students would also have some clearer rules on what they can receive program funding for. Money from the Finance Committee would not be allowed to be spent on gifts for speakers or supplies, such as t-shirts or baked goods, for fundraisers for the club itself.
One of the more significant proposed changes is the allocation of veto power to the Executive Board treasurer and Finance Committee chair.
The treasurer and finance chair would both have to motion for a veto, in agreement with each other, and would be able to do so in all cases of financial matters, except for appeals. Their veto could be overridden by a two-thirds vote of Senate body.
Because the SGA Constitution does not allot veto power to either of these positions, an amendment will be proposed to the budget standards stating the veto will go into effect if, and when, the Constitution itself is amended to allow for it.
The more controversial change Kennedy proposed was regarding required programming for SGA-recognized clubs. Clubs that do not complete two SGA-approved events during the first semester of the academic year would be at risk for losing.
The specifics of the bylaw state any club that did not complete two programs as mandated, would be given a warning early in the spring semester that would give them one month to hold an event.
Failure to hold an event would result in up to, but no greater than half of their SGA-allocated funds being put into the Finance Committee spring programming account at the discretion of the Executive Board Secretary and Finance Committee chair. The club would still have access to funds for programming as usual.
As of Monday night’s meeting, there is more than $13,000 left in the spring programming account.
“It’s not to punish clubs,” Kennedy said, who went on to explain that it is more so an attempt to keep clubs active and make sure funding is available to organizations that wish to hold programs and events.
“It’s to make sure that students know clubs are out there. There are a lot of clubs we met with who haven’t done programming.”
The suggested changes to the budget standards have been tabled until next week.
Other topics discussed at the meeting were potential changes in the meal plans and upcoming deadline for SOAC applications.
Katherine O’Brien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.