The Appropriations Act was the star of the show for the Feb. 12 USG senate meeting, passing by a vote of 18-1-0, but not before some misunderstandings and reconsideration.
Up for a vote was approximately $42,000 in unused club funds to be transferred to the USG grant appropriation. Nine clubs, due to anything from technical misunderstandings to internal disorganization, were found in violation of a section of USG’s financial bylaws that states, “A club/organization shall solely host at least one event per semester that is funded, in whole or in part, by the Student Activity Fee.”
USG Treasurer Kathryn Michaud stressed that e-board members from every club were required to attend a leadership conference and take a quiz regarding this section of the bylaws.
“If these clubs can’t use the budget, I think [the funds] should be allocated to other clubs,” Michaud said.
Notable clubs and organizations that sent representatives to plead their cases included the Asian American Journal, Black Womyn’s Association and SB Ringers.
The lengthy debate that ensued was boiled down to one main question—whether to hold all organizations to the same standard or not.
“The fact is you broke the bylaws and you have to face the consequences, but there are ways to bounce back,” College of Arts and Sciences Sen. Chris Williams said.
With a bang on the table, Executive Vice President James Alrassi joked, “Hard-hitting, Senator Williams!”
However, College of Arts and Sciences Sen. Marissa Peterson wished to see each organization in its own light and handle it on a case-by-case basis. Peterson was especially concerned with the situation of the Black Womyn’s Association, which had misunderstandings with USG over the activation of their secretary’s Campusvine account. This account is needed by e-board members to deal with budgetary concerns.
“Their problem was very technical, and I feel the other clubs didn’t really know what they were doing as much,” Peterson said. “This club seems to just have purely technical reasons behind their vouchers.”
After the debate, the act was put to a vote, and by a vote of 11-7-1, the Appropriations Act failed.
Surprised, Michaud reminded the senators that the clubs and organizations could not use the funds anyway, regardless of the vote, because they violated the financial bylaws. The act was simply proposing to allocate the funds to the USG grant appropriation.
“Just as a point of clarification,” Michaud began, “…that was the whole point of this act.”
After a groan of misunderstanding went over the room, the motion to reconsider passed, and the final motion to pass the act went through.
One notable topic of discussion was the budgets of groups who had no representatives at the meeting to vouch for their case.
The Black Womyn’s Play Writer’s Guild (budget: $3,259.60), the National Association of Black Accountants (budget: $2,160) and the Young Americans for Freedom (budget: $3,771.75) were all on the agenda, but had no one present at the meeting to represent them.
Other items on the agenda were the new Special Services Council budgets for Taiko Tides, a Japanese drumming group, and SBU TNG (The Next Generation), a group that teaches about the fetish community. The USG Senate avoided any debate in these areas and quickly passed both.