Student Senate responded to public comments regarding this year’s club budgeting process, discussed wait times for counseling services, an increase in tuition and approved sustainability funds for the Knox Food Pantry last Thursday in the Trustee’s Room in Alumni Hall.
The meeting began with a public comment from Gabi Harris, senior, who represented several of the campus media organizations including Quiver, Catch, Cellar Door, Caxton and TKS. Harris voiced concern that Student Senate and the Student Life Committee determined this year’s media organization budgets without input from club members.
Harris noted that media-organizations were not notified of approved budgets until the fifthweek of the term, causing students to work without pay. She also advocated for independent oversight over the media-budgeting process and urged for communication from Student Senate regarding the rationale behind their budgeting process.
In response, President Cayne Randle, senior, said besides the budget cuts caused by an unforeseen drop in enrollment, this was the first year Student Senate was granted the transparency from SLC to examine specific fund allocations for student organizations instead of approving lump sums. Randle said Student Senate intends to exercise more oversight and that this process is not perfect.
As for the delayed time frame, Randle said the Student Life Committee Ñ which controls the final approval of budgets, not Student Senate Ñ had trouble meeting because of scheduling conflicts. Randle apologized for the delayed notifications of organization budgets. Senate Financial Secretary Andrew Liput, sophomore, said the establishment of an independent oversight committee is outside Student Senate’s authority.
Last week Senate voted in support of increasing the Student Activity Fee by $6. In this meeting, senators reviewed a letter they intend to send to VP of Knox Finances Paul Eisenmenger inquiring into the “college’s plans for addressing the growing financial hardship among the student body.”
Senate exec addressed concerns over long response times at counseling services. Of the five counselors, two are on contract to work between five and 25 hours a week. The new counselor hired over the summer is not yet licensed in Illinois but should be in a month, meaning wait times should improve next term.
After reporting that the vending machine on the third floor of Seymour has been fixed, Senate approved a $3,000 payment for stocking the Knox Food Pantry over the next two years. The payment is sourced by the Student Sustainability fFnd and once the two year allocation expires Senate estimated it would cost $500 a term to keep the pantry stocked.
In her President Report, Randle addressed that members of exec are attending an American Student Government Association convention this weekend and to learn more about effective student governance. In order to save on costs, only a portion of the exec board will attend the regional conference in Chicago, drive early in the morning to return the same day and intend to send younger members.