Student senators grant executive board members special privileges

At a Feb. 21 student government meeting, executive board members listen to an emergency allocation request.

Peijia Zhang

At a Feb. 21 student government meeting, executive board members listen to an emergency allocation request.

Tyler McNulty, News Editor

History Club officers’ submission of documentation to support their budget request  sparked intense debate at a Feb. 21 student government meeting. 

On Feb. 13, budgets for clubs and organizations were due to the student government office for the 2017-2018 academic year.

At the Feb. 21 meeting, senators and executive board members debated whether to accept the History Club’s late documentation.

As precedent, Allocations Committee members are not to accept late submissions.

President Pro Tempore Madison Nick said it would be unfair to the club members who submitted documentation in on time, if the history club’s documentation was accepted late.

However, during budget meetings Jan. 25 and 26, which informed students on how to budget, the guidelines laid out contradicted the student government’s constitution.

The constitution states that budgets turned in by the deadline without documentation are to be returned to club members, giving the club members one week to return the budget to Allocations Committee members.

Another section states that, if a budget is late – but no more than a week late, the budget will receive an automatic 50 percent cut.

Parliamentarian Sam Miller said the sections included vagueness regarding the deadline and late deadline for budgets to be submitted as set forth by Allocations Committee members.

“The intent (of the subsections) was good, but the way they were worded and put in was poor,” Miller said.

According to Nick, if a club member were to hand in their request after the deadline, but before a Feb. 15 late deadline, that club would get an automatic 50 percent cut, and no late documentation would be accepted.

Nick said many amendments were added to the budgeting guidelines at the beginning of last semester, and there was a misinterpretation of the new guidelines laid out in the constitution.

“We were not following the constitution when we laid out the budgeting guidelines.

“They’re brand new and were overlooked,” Nick said.

Student Government President Kyle Maguire said the new amendments threw everyone off.

“We all passed the new amendments, so it was no one’s fault but all of (student government members),” Maguire said.

Nick added that Allocations Committee members were trying to make the budgeting process better for students.

“Every club had an allocations representative to help them with the process,” she said.

At the meeting, Miller said that executive board members can be granted special privileges to amend the constitution.

Treasurer Joe Evanko proposed for executive board members to be allowed to edit the constitution to match the guidelines from the allocations members.

He said, by following the constitution, it would have pushed the timeline of the budgeting process into the summer months.

Evanko said, if no budget is passed, then none of the 49 clubs that requested budget funding will be approved.

“The budget needs to be passed before the new administration takes over,” Evanko said.

However, Senator Jeff Wainwright criticized those privileges to executive board members.

“That’s granting broad authority to the (executive board),” Wainwright said at the meeting.

Instead, he motioned to amend the motion to three days to fix all budgets.

He said that, if executive board members were able to amend the constitution, they could hypothetically change the constitution’s wording to whatever they wanted it to.

With Wainwright’s motion, Allocations Committee members would email clubs on Wednesday and give the club representatives until Friday to fix budgets.

Maguire said that the special privileges granted to executive board members would only be needed to decide what to do.

However, senators struck Wainwright’s motion and the original motion proposed by Evanko.

“(Senators) thought it was easier to strike (the two constitutional sections),” Wainwright said.

After his motion and the original motion proposed by Evanko, Nick proposed to give special privileges to executive board members to temporarily strike the two contradicting sections of the constitution.

“It was the only compromise we could make,” she said.

After the budget is passed by student government members, the two subsections will return to the constitution.

Miller said that Student Policies Committee members will review the contradicting sections and most likely eliminate them from the constitution.

“Pieces of those subsections might be added to other parts of the constitution.

“We aren’t going to let this happen again,” Miller said.

Nick added that there was some disconnection between senators and that senators don’t check the Google Docs often, which is where the student government constitution is posted.

“I think (senators) need to start checking more,” she said.

Nick also said the special privileges granted to the executive board was the right decision.

“We stayed true to what we told the students (at the budget meetings).”