By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
Congressional absences once again became a focus in Students’ Association business Wednesday as one class officer issued a disapproving resolution regarding SA’s retreat last weekend.
SA ended up with exactly the half-plus-one quorum needed to approve the spring 2003 budget, 25-0, Saturday. The absence of 24 congress members became a sticking point in the approval process.
“Attendance is what makes this organization work,” Erin Baldwin (jr. senator) told Congress before reading her resolution that noted “with disapproval” a large number of absences and called upon the governing body to “reaffirm its commitment to regular attendance at all scheduled meetings, especially…special sessions.”
The budget, which at $95,000 is the smallest since fall 2001, became an accessory to its own debate in Saturday’s retreat meeting. Twenty-three members supported the budget, with Chris Kennedy (COBA) and Stephen Thomasson (UP) objecting to approval because nearly half of Congress was absent.
The budget is the first to dole out money to student groups not a part of the SA system, awarding $15,052 to such groups as Hispanos Unidos, the Shinnery Review and the International Students Association.
The Student Request Fund also is much smaller this semester. Only $10,000 has been earmarked for general student requests, as opposed to $26,000 last semester. However, many of the groups that normally drain the fund have received their money through the budget instead.
But all that faded into the background as members questioned the approval of a budget with a threadbare quorum.
“I don’t think it’s the ethical thing to do to vote on a budget because we’re here, and if you’re not here, that’s too bad,” Thomasson said.
Baldwin replied with criticism of those who didn’t show up at the retreat.
“We’ve had two months to get off work, to not make plans,” she said. “We need to make it clear that this is a place where we get things done.”
The bulk of the pro-vote argument came from the three members expected to run for executive office this semester-Baldwin, junior vice president Taylor Hemness and junior senator Shep Strong.
Smith ended discussion without a motion to adjourn-something he is not authorized to do under SA’s Rules of Order or by-laws, in favor of a half-hour devotional.
After the devo, Thomasson and Kennedy reversed their opposition and voted to approve the budget.
Also pushed into the background by Saturday’s debate was the creation of six executive committees, all relating to advocacy: constituent relations: retrieving, constituent relations: reporting, administrative relations, financial support, Student Government Association research and development and activities.
The purpose of the committees, vice president Jeremy Gordon said at the retreat, is to more effectively advocate for the student body. The chair of each committee will meet with the executive officers in the creation of an Executive Cabinet.