By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
Student Congress in its first official meeting of the year Wednesday approved 23 appointees to fill vacant seats amid much debate and confusion over parliamentary procedure.
When only 35 of 58 seats were filled after elections this month and few eligible candidates asked to be appointed, Layne Rouse, executive president of the Students’ Association, initially asked Congress to suspend its own bylaws to allow ineligible students to be appointed.
“The people I’m putting before you all have a desire to serve,” Rouse said. “What would hurt is to have someone who wants to serve not allowed to.”
Congress seemed receptive to allowing some freshmen and sophomores to fill vacant academic building seats and suspended the bylaws because they require these representatives to have junior hours. However, contention arose when some potential appointees’ majors were not housed in the building they would represent-also a requirement of the bylaws.
“We’re walking a line of upholding government standards,” said Sen. Daniel Gray, sophomore social work major from Collierville, Tenn. “We’re setting a standard that Congress can do whatever it wants. That’s not a line that we want to cross.”
Some said they would rather see people appointed to Congress who wanted to serve than have to seek out someone who was not interested enough to run for office or volunteer.
“If you want to find a person to fill a seat just because they technically represent a building then I think we have a different idea of Congress,” said Sen. Brandon Smith, freshman political science and missions major from Dallas.
In the end, Congress discovered it could jockey around several of the potential appointees so they represented a building that housed their major. With that settled, Congress quickly approved the XX appointees.
To make room for all the appointees, Congress also unanimously accepted the resignation of Administration Building Rep. Andrea Schweikhard, junior communication major from Tulsa, Okla., who was elected just over two weeks ago.
Congress also unanimously approved the budget for this semester-a budget scaled back considerably less than what was originally anticipated.
Executive officers discovered Sept. 6 the $29,500 bill for the electronic scoring system in the bowling alley was left for them to pay. It should have been paid by last year’s administration but was not because of unaccounted for financial mishandlings.
However, Tyler Cosgrove, executive treasurer, announced that after news of the crisis went public, Dale Crawford, the university’s controller, chief accounting officer and former SA treasurer, called him to ask about the debt. Cosgrove said Crawford offered to have the university essentially loan SA the money to pay the debt, and Congress would then pay back the administration $7,375 each of the next four semesters.
Because of that and a $4,000 debt recently paid back by Spring Break Campaigns, Congress will have almost $94,000 at its disposal once the first installment of the loan is repaid to the university.
The 29 student groups who submitted budgets to Cosgrove received $40,041-an increase of almost $9,000 from last fall and about $1,000 from the spring.
Student groups requested $60,721 in their budgets-30 percent more than allotted for groups-so Cosgrove said most groups’ budgets were cut about 30 percent based on the groups’ priorities and certain items and functions SA does not pay.
Cosgrove said he has met with some groups since the budget was finalized and most were happy with what they received.
Open positions in Congress
* Biblical Studies Building: 1
* University Park Apartments: 1
* Sherrod Apartments: 1
* Foster Science Building: 2
* Chambers Hall: 2
* Senior Class Representative: 1