Student government tightens wallet
Marcus Clem | Collegio Reporter
Student senators voted a resolution down after a rare extended debate about SGA’s internal finances at their meeting on Nov. 14.
“We had a very open and honest discussion where people really stood up
for what they believed,” said Sydney Ward, SGA vice president.
There were 15 “no” votes, enough to reject SGA Resolution 12-21 by denying it the required two-thirds majority vote. This is a rare event, as the majority of all SGA Resolutions pass the Senate at-large unanimously. Senators carefully construct resolutions at the committee level and discuss the details outside of the official meetings.
However, when the resolution, allocating $2,200 for SGA office expenses from the $13,853 carryover fund from the preceding year, came up for its second reading and vote, an extended floor debate took place.
The debate was prompted by a question from a senator. In response, Lara Ismert, SGA president, revealed that this fall, $1,273 was spent on “office expenses,” of which about $400 constituted one-time purchases.
Chief among the resolution’s opponents was Senator Austin Osborn.
“I feel that we’ve spent a lot already this year,” he said. “If we’re going forward with this $2,200 allocation, we must make an exaggerated effort to quit buying stuff we don’t know about in terms of need.”
Sen. Steve Chastain offered a counter argument.
“We have only $23 left in the fund,” said Chastain. “Do you really think that won’t be used over the rest of the year?”
Sen. Osborn had a rebuttal.
“Obviously, we have to do something,” he said. “Why do we need $2,200 for the few months of school left, one of which extends partly into the summer when nobody’s going to be here?”
After the resolution failed to be adopted, Osborn offered an amendment to it that decreased the carryover allocation to $1,500. This renewed resolution was then passed with a unanimous vote.
SGA also allocated $1,031 to the Pitt Points scholarship and prize program, which gives points to students who attend various events around campus after they swipe their Gorilla ID cards. Rewards are given to the students with the most points at the end of the year from this allocation, which was completely used up prior to the vote.
Again, the meeting witnessed more than one uncommon “no” vote. Sen. Audrey Gilbreth says the process was too hasty.
“We haven’t tried fundraising enough,” she said. “I think that more effort could have paid this off. Plus, this wasn’t an emergency, and it should not have been pushed into second reading tonight. It could have been put off.”
The resolution passed after receiving the required majority of “yes” votes.