SGA members debate cutting funding to academic departments

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    After a hot debate, a bill to cut funding to any academic department died during Tuesday night’s Student Government Association meeting.

    The bill stated academic departments would not be able to receive SGA money collected from the Student Body Fee, a $90 fee students pay each year.

    Student House of Representatives members voted to add an amendment to allow SGA to fund 50 percent of a request for money for a project from an academic department, instead of nothing at all.

    Student Body President Cody Westphal, who supported cutting departmental funding, said he would veto the bill because of the amendment. The bill died on the floor.

    “You’re arguing an amendment that’s a giant con to the bill,” Westphal said. “Does this not defeat the purpose of the bill?”

    Treasurer Zach Madel, one of the bill’s authors, removed his support from the bill after the amendment passed with 54 percent approval from House representatives. 

    “If you vote yes on this amendment, you may as well just vote no on the whole bill,” Madel said. 

    The bill was presented by Madel, Class of 2014 Representative Thomas Kober, Neeley School of Business Representative Lydia Longoria and Academic Affairs Chair Matt Spangler. Finance Committee Chair Jeffrey Chatman submitted the amendment.

    If the amendment passed, academic departments would be required to provide proof of their funding before collecting any money from SGA, Chatman said. 

    House members said they were confused about how departments would present proof of funding and how they would receive the money.

    Chatman said department personnel would need to ask for money from House before signing a contract, and give representatives the opportunity to approve their request. 

    The required proof of funding would probably be a receipt, but the procedure would need to be discussed, Chatman said.

    He said that after a request was approved, House would reimburse the departments for up to 50 percent of the cost. 

    “We’re painting ourselves into a bigger corner by completely eliminating departmental funding than we are by saying that we’re only going to pay 50 percent,” Chatman said.

    Bryan Tony, an AddRan College of Liberal Arts representative, also said the amendment was a good compromise.

    The elimination of departmental funding would have affected both the Student Body Code and the Finance Guidelines, Madel said. 

    In addition during the meeting, a bill to purchase filming equipment for Senseless Acts of Comedy was passed unanimously by representatives. A resolution to support the ‘Take Your Teacher to Lunch Program’ was also adopted unanimously.