SGA passes amendment to prevent rushed budget process

In response to anger that erupted after a hurried annual budget presentation two weeks ago, the Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously passed legislation to require all the organization’s future budget proposals be presented no later than two Senate meetings before they are due to the Budget Review Committee (BRC).

Members of the executive board sincerely apologized to the senators that the March 30 presentation was rushed, but said they still supported the proposal, which was approved by a majority vote of the senate and given to the BRC April 3.

The budget proposal caused controversy because it calls for a 21 percent increase to the SGA budget, which breaks rules outlined by the rulebook that regulates student groups, the Student Activity Fee Manual.

The manual says student groups can only increase their budget by a maximum of 10 percent per year.

Some senators were sent into a further uproar because the budget was approved in the final 20 minutes of the meeting with only limited debate.

The proposed increase includes $20,000 in stipends for the future executive board to replace an earlier program that granted the SGA e-board full tuition scholarships.

The internal resolution acknowledges the senate may need longer than one meeting to thoroughly review, amend and approve the annual budget proposal.

Besides calling for at least two senate meetings to decide the budget, the resolution requires the proposal to be distributed to all senators three days prior to the scheduled presentation to allow absent senators to participate in the process.

Adriana Campos, vice president for administration and public relations, said she wrote the initial draft of the legislation directly following the fast-paced Senate meeting where the budget was approved.

Although Campos co-authored the legislation, she said she did not apologize for the budget SGA approved. She said the budget she created with President Ashley Adams was necessary for the success of next year’s executive board, and since it was approved the senate must wait to see what happens when the BRC makes their decision tomorrow.

“We are stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Campos said. “Our scholarships were pulled out from under our feet with no apologies.”

Senator Michael Benson, who also co-authored the resolution, said he did not accept the apologies of the executive board for the hurried presentation and that while the legislation in no way corrects how the budget was presented this year, it ensures “mistakes of the past stay where they belong – in the past.”

The resolution passed unanimously with six abstentions, which were mainly cast by members of the BRC. Because it mandates only SGA procedures, the resolution does not need to be approved by the university president.

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