The 91st Students’ Association Congress passed the fall 2014 budget Wednesday night after adding three amendments to the original proposal. Members proposed and debated seven amendments, but four failed to pass during voting.
Each semester, Students’ Association has a $90,000 budget that funds SA and other groups on campus. SA received over $141,500 in requests from student groups. Congress was able to allocate $43,538, or about 49 percent of their budget, to the various student organizations that applied for funds.
For nearly two hours, Congress members and group representatives discussed, questioned, and debated the allocated funds. During the process of debate, some Congress members stumbled through motions and questioning.
Rodney Johnson, SA president, and Beau Carter, SA vice president, repeatedly had to interrupt students during question and debate to give instruction on how to properly engage in the session.
“We operated off some willy-nilly rules in the past,” said Johnson, senior finance major from Odessa. “We allowed student groups to ask questions to other groups and combat each other and there was kind of a lot of disorder.”
Johnson and Carter tried to enforce the constitutional bylaws to help the process run smoother, but members still ran into a few hiccups in executing procedures properly.
“The problem is that we’re trying to operate on what our constitution and rules of order allow us to operate by,” Johnson said. “And there are some congressmen who didn’t make it to retreat or didn’t really know the process, so that kind of made for some sluggishness.”
Despite issues on the floor, members still managed to present seven amendments to the bill, all involving the shuffling around of fairly small sums of money. The largest dollar amount in question was $300 to be taken from League of Wildcats, a student group for gamers on campus.
The amendment to move the funds to Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society and Black Students’ Association passed with 20 in favor, nine opposing and five abstaining.
Two additional amendments passed moved $96 from Freshman Action Council to We Are Not Alone support group and $100 from Country Club two-step group to the American Society of Interior Designers.
Andrew Tate, executive treasurer of the Students’ Association, said he felt all changes made were consistent with the criteria he considered when making the budget. Tate focused more on organizations promoting professional development in allocating SA’s funds than previous treasurers had done in the past.
“One thing I love is professional development on campus,” said Tate, senior biology major from Abilene. “Because ultimately, we come to college to get an education, and that education is for the purpose of obtaining a job after graduation. You probably saw that reflected in the budget, but we tried to be fair to all groups.”
In the final vote on the budget, Congress passed Tate’s bill with 29 in favor, three opposing, and two abstaining.
However, before the session adjourned, Caleb Orr, sophomore class president, made one final motion to make the budget public by being posted online via SA’s Facebook and Twitter page. Orr seemed to think no members in past Congress sessions had made motions of this nature before.
“A budget is inherently a public document because it goes out to almost all of our student groups,” said Orr, sophomore political science major from McKinney. “These student groups deserve the right to know what other groups are receiving especially since SA itself is a public institution. The best way to access all of the constituencies and student groups is to make the budget completely public so that any student can access it. Without congressional action, it would not have happened.”
You can view the finalized budget at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11kSwUdcavnNJDHrgV27Knp61UlaM-5z6XfLQxi1LDUA/edit?usp=sharing