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Budget talks occupy SGA

The latest SGA meeting included a conversation regarding SGA’s budget and spending and a vote on ordering Homecoming 2016 T-shirts for the student body. Director of Student Transitions and Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Ashlee Spearman also spoke to the senate in the Wednesday, Sept. 14, meeting.

President Ryan Honea brought attention to the fact that the SGA is currently operating at a deficit. Sen. Jay Alvarez then voiced student concerns brought to him concerning SGA spending and the vagueness of the listed expenditures.

“I have received several suggestions regarding how the list is released publicly,” Alvarez said. “I like how ours (the budget the senators receive) shows an exact breakdown. Advertising says $22,000, but what does that include?”

Honea said he was open to discussing the release of a more specific budget, but also said the exact budget breakdown is complicated.

“The big reason that it is released like that, as opposed to a line-by-line, isn’t because we are trying to hide anything from the students,” Honea said. “It’s that the line-by-line item is incredibly confusing.”

The SGA budget released to the public via their website divides spending into categories, like events and development, to explain what the body spends its money on, instead of specific listings.

The publicly released budget is found at http://www.apsu.edu/sga/guiding-documents.

Associate Vice President, Dean of Students and SGA adviser Gregory Singleton said SGA has been under budget for nine of the past 10 years.

“We have a surplus of almost $300,000 in our account. That is not shown [in the budget release,]” Singleton said. Singleton said almost all of the money SGA spends goes to the benefit of students, including events such as the Mudbowl and Homecoming shirts.

Singleton said the two most expensive events in the SGA budget are Mudbowl and Homecoming. The two events cost $13,184.88 together.

“Mudbowl is a very expensive endeavor. Look at Homecoming, what do you think costs $6,800?” Singleton asked. “Your T-Shirts, which, by the way, I haven’t ordered them. We don’t have to do them.”

Singleton said most students would be upset if they did not have Homecoming T-shirts, and a specific budget breakdown does not properly convey exactly how the money benefits students.

“We have to look at the budget in totality,” Singleton said.

Singleton’s statements resulted in SGA voting on whether or not to order Homecoming 2016 T-shirts. The Senate voted unanimously to buy the shirts.

Singleton also said SGA has brought in $45,000 thus far into the Fall 2016 semester. He then said the current SGA fee is currently $5 per student, and the school has not raised the fee in 10 years. The student body votes on fee increases through a memorandum process.

Guest speaker Spearman attended the meeting to talk about the QEP program.

The QEP program concentrates on involving students in High Impact Practices (H.I.P.) such as service learning, undergraduate research and studying abroad. These programs make student resumes stand out to potential employers, according to Spearman.

Spearman said the major issue facing the QEP is lack of awareness and said the fact only about half of the SGA members had heard of the program was proof of her statement.

Spearman said she is traveling around campus and meeting with different organizations to show the importance of H.I.P. to students’ futures.

The university created the QEP in 2014 to gain accreditation with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

No senators introduced new legislation and the newly elected senators were sworn into office.

The new freshman senators are Haley Adkison, Haley Palmeri, Cameron Peña, Joseph Spear and Ella Weiss. The graduate senators are Erika Adams and Rebecca Jacks.

The next SGA Meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m. in MUC 307 and Mudbowl is Oct. 2, from 1-4 p.m.

About Patrick Roach

Journalism Major at Austin Peay State University. Junior. Server at Chili's Bar & Grill.

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