In the first Student Governing Association senate meeting of the semester, senators debated cuts to the Union Program Council budget and introduced new legislation related to building hours for the Business Administration Building and committee member speaking rights.
The potential decrease to UPC privilege fee allocations (and thus, the council’s budget) garnered more than an hour of debate. The Privilege Fee Committee proposed a 2 percent decrease to the UPC budget, or around $4,000. Discussion focused on the impact of lowering how much money students give to the council.
Jonathan Cole, student senator and senior in mechanical engineering, opposed the bill. The UPC doesn’t know where exactly cuts are going to happen, Cole said, but he has heard from people within UPC that the cuts are “horrible.”
Sarah Niederee, former PFC chair and senior in agricultural economics, supported the legislation, saying that if students want the privilege fee reduced while enrollment continues to decline, then certain budgets will have to be reviewed and possibly decreased.
“I want your voices to be heard,” said Jansen Penny, current PFC chair and junior in industrial engineering. “If we have to send this back, we will.”
The senate debated the motion to send the bill back to committee, which failed. More debate was followed by a vote to pass the bill, which failed 30 to 14 — one vote short of passing with a two-thirds majority.
Penny said that to approve funding for the UPC next year, a bill must pass whether the funding is cut or not, and the PFC will return to discussions.
Afterward, a bill was introduced to support the use of surplus faculty surcharge fees to extend hours for the Business Administration Building. Currently, the College of Business’s home building has 48 study rooms and is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
The current hours, the bill states, are restricted by the lack of staff to ensure the safety of students within the building. Extending the hours would benefit students due to a lack of study space on campus, particularly since Hale Library is out of commission for the time being due to fire and water damage. The allocation would be used to hire staff to extend operational hours.
Also introduced were amendments to the SGA constitution regarding committee member speaking rights. Currently, committee members have speaking rights and a vote within committee meetings, but not during student senate meetings.
The proposed amendment will give committee members the ability to be recognized on the floor and debate, but not vote. The members would also be able to designate a person to be given their speaking rights.
The senate will reconvene Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Wildcat Chamber.