SGA made history by passing Resolution No. 4, which will see them directly fund a student organization for an event for the first time, at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
After a lengthy debate during the meeting on Oct. 19, SGA further discussed the resolution, which would provide funds to Del Square Psi to purchase 5,000 viewing glasses for an event celebrating the Aug. 21, 2017 solar eclipse. The senate ultimately passed it with a 2/3 majority, against the recommendation of Dean of Students and SGA adviser Greg Singleton.
Singleton said at the previous meeting that funding an individual organization could set a precedent and open the door for other organizations to come asking for funds.
While a bill sponsored by Sen. Frank Burns to allocate funding for NPHC last year was passed by the senate, it was ultimately vetoed by former SGA President Will Roberts. This event was brought up again during the Oct. 26 debate as a reason to not pass the resolution.
Sen. Joseph Spear sponsored the resolution on behalf of Justice Jacob Robertson.
“I think that it will be a great way to benefit the student body,” Spear said.
A few APSU students attended the SGA meeting to show support for the resolution, and applauded its passing.
SGA also discussed Act No. 6. Written by Sen. Thomas Murphy, it would provide SGA the power to oversee and vote on SOC expenditures exceeding $1,500. This lead to another heated debate regarding the ethics of SOC and the method which SOC decides which organizations to fund.
Sen. Rebecca Jacks, one of SGA’s two representatives on SOC, voiced concerns regarding the structure and decision-making of SOC.
“In two months they (SOC) have spent a third of their budget already,” Jacks said. “I noticed there were specific organizations that were repeatedly funded, as well as organizations that were repeatedly not funded that I found concerning.”
Jacks also said she did not support SOC funding an invitation for Adam Ritz to speak at the university.
“I am very concerned about the Student Organization Council, their infrastructure and lack thereof,” Jacks said.
While Murphy said the bill does not delve into the ethics of the decision making of the SOC per se, it would allow the SGA to have more of a voice in the spending of the $30,000 SGA allocates to SOC every year.
Singleton said the SOC was created to alleviate the burden of the SGA, who he said spent 95 percent of their time on budget allocation instead of focusing on legislation before SOC was formed. He also recommended inviting SOC representatives to speak to SGA before making a decision.
Act No.6 was tabled until and will be discussed further after representatives from the SOC are invited to give their perspective to SGA.
The rest of the Murphy Finance Reform Acts, Act Nos. 3, 4 and 5, were passed.
Act No. 3 will require the SGA president to give an official report regarding expenditures exceeding $1,000 not voted on by the Senate within 14 business days of the expense.
Act No. 4 grants the Senate the sole power to approve allocations and expenses taken from the student fees used to fund SGA that exceed $1,500. The legislation was passed after being amended to allow the Executive Council to approve funding and expenses when the Senate is not in session.
Act No. 5 will increase the power of SGA’s vice president by allowing them to vote on legislation even if a tie-breaking vote is unnecessary. According to the legislation, the vice president “shall vote with discretion and only in the event that he or she sees the bill to be of critical importance to SGA.”
Chief Justice Lane Chisenhall was recognized for being appointed as one of two student representatives on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, as well as the first to be elected to that position from APSU. Chisenhall was also crowned as homecoming king on Oct. 22.
The next SGA meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 2, in MMC 305 at 4 p.m.