After debating for an hour and a half about the new changes to the budgeting system for the 2018-2019 school year, Student Senate was unable to approve additional funds requests when six senators left last Thursday’s meeting, leaving them without enough senators present for quorum to allow them to hold official votes.
“It’s literally your job to be here. Part of your responsibility is to be here and vote on what we have at our meetings,” President senior Sofia Tagkaloglou said to the remaining senators after two disgruntled club representatives left the meeting, unable to receive their additional funds.
According to Vice President Sam Cohen, the six senators who left the meeting were seniors Yeomin Kim and Mark Voreis, junior Farzana Ahmed, sophomore Eden Sarkisian and freshmen Carolina Hodgson, and Le Duy Long. Of those senators, only Ahmed, Sarkisian and Long reported a reason for leaving the meeting. Ahmed left for work while Sarkisian and Long left to finish homework.
Prior to the meeting, there were three senators who sent in excused absences and one unexcused.
Sophomore Fred Lehman attended the meeting to represent German club and request $225 for a trip to the German Cultural Center in Chicago. Lehman said that he was extremely upset with how the meeting was run, especially since he had to wait for an hour and a half before being told Senate could not listen to or approve German Club’s fund request.
“They can’t do what we elected them to do,” Lehman said. “If you’re going to run for Senate and say this is what you’re going to do, it’s the least you can do to take two hours of your day to do what you’re hired to do. It doesn’t seem like they have a firm grasp of why they’re in there.”
Alpha Phi Omega representative sophomore Teslin Penoyer was requesting $302.70 to pay for insurance for their upcoming Run-A-Thon event and even made it through her whole pitch to Senate before they realized they could not approve the funds request.
“This is not the first time this has happened to me. We are on a time line and we’ve listened to them debate on meaningless things,” Penoyer said. “It’s kind of frustrating.”
Of the four additional funds requests brought to Senate last week, Ultimate Frisbee was the only club approved. Frisbee requested $5,900 for three postseason tournaments that they were told not to budget for when projecting the year’s budget needs last May. The money will be used to rent cars, hotels and bid fees for the tournaments and will serve the approximately 45 members of the club.
Alliance for Peaceful Action was also in attendance and was requesting $2,600 to bring in a guest speaker who will give a talk on the impact of capitalism on climate change. The speaker was brought to campus two years ago and attracted a decent turnout according to APA representative senior Alex Davis.
Davis said that $1,000 of the funds request will be used to pay the speaker, while $1,000 will be donated to the Institution for Anarchy through the speaker. The rest of the funds would be used to pay for the hotel for the speaker. APA was asked to request the speaker to lower their price and return to Senate next this Thursday.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Chair of Dining Services junior Leonard Monterey spoke on behalf of the public to address several complaints brought up from students regarding Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Kwame Shabazz‘s tweets. According to Monterey, some students feel as though the tweets are anti-Semitic. Senate tabled further discussion on the issue for this week’s meeting.
The next Student Senate meeting will be held on Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Room of Old Main.
Eden Sarkisian is Discourse Editor for TKS.