The Student Government Association voted 12-7 to give $291.50 to fund a plane ticket for a Matt Davis, the assistant collegiate providence representative of Phi Mu Alpha Symphonia, Wed., at its last meeting of this semester.
This is the first time that the SGA has funded any representative of a gender discriminating organization for a trip.
Three years ago the SGA voted to not fund three representatives of Pi Kappa Alpha for a trip to an organizational meeting. Its vote Wednesday of 12-7, with four abstentions on bill seven passed this past week, but was overshadowed by resolution 14, which was also passed at last week’s meeting.
Resolution fourteen was a “call for the amendment of both the Student Government Constitution and the SABC guidelines to allow for the creation of a separate Student Government controlled Travel Fund.” The “Travel Fund” would be separate from the already existing Academic Travel Fund and would allow the funding of trips to organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or religion.
The SGA constitution specifically states that, “SGA will not fund the following: An organizational event deemed discriminatory on basis of race, gender, or religion.” This wording was interpreted by a majority of the senators to mean funding an actual event and not the transportation to an event.
“I believe the constitution has a loophole, in that, we are not funding the event just the plane trip,” said senator Joey Villamez, who was the sponsor of this bill. Other senators including President Heather Davis argued that the SGA would be doing more than just paying for his plane ticket.
“The question is, are we putting him on a plane, or are we putting him on a plane trip to the event for Phi Mu Alpha Symphonia, which does discriminate based on gender,” said Senator Davis. Phi Mu Alpha is considered not to be a social fraternity but a traditional fraternity for music majors.
“There is a sister organization to Phi Mu Alpha Symphonia, but they are not nationally recognized as the men are,” said Iona Pendergast, when asked what her opinion was on the vote Wednesday.
“I try to be more objective when I look at bills,” said senator Kelly Conine, when she was asked how she decided on how to vote on bill seven which funded the plane ticket for Mr. Davis.
In other news the SGA voted to allocate $584 to the Chemistry Club. They asked for the money in order to fund seven plane tickets to attend a convention in New Orleans. At the convention, seven graduate students would get national recognition for the Chemistry club and most importantly attend a graduate school fair for possible graduate students. The SGA proposed and passed friendly amendment changing the amount from $1,029 to the final $584. Bill eight passed 17-4 with only one abstention.
Resolution ten, which made office hours stricter and added a stipulation for the senators to not miss more than three office hours a semester without excuse, was sent to a committee to figure out the details.
“As long as you made it up by Friday, even if you didn’t communicate that you weren’t going to come, it was okay,” said President Davis. But now the senators will possibly be required to call in ahead of time and notify someone of their situation and still make the hours up. As it is now, senators for the SGA are required to serve one office hour a week. This resolution will hopefully just provides a punishment and a strict standard to the already existing rule the senators agreed to when they signed their contract to be in the SGA.
` The Sassy Cats also came to SGA this past week to ask for money to attend Nationals in Orlando, Florida. The Sassy Cats did not fall under an athletic function, but did fall under a recognized student organization and were not eligible to apply for money from the academic travel fund. They asked for $3,120 for music, a choreographer and hotel costs. The SGA, concerned about the budget, changed the total to $2,000. At this present time SGA has only approximately $1,900 left for the entire year. Because of technical reasons, the SGA could not vote on bill nine until next semester, so they opted to give a vote of confidence. A vote of confidence basically ensures the dance team SGA will help fund the trip, but cannot right now.
With two resolutions that passed, SGA increased the athletic fee by $15 per student and supported the Student Activities Committee decision to change the standards by which textbooks would be accepted for resale. The textbooks would be looked at more intensely concerning markups and writing in the books. The fee increase, which was discussed last week, is to go towards maintaining the same standard already in existence for the athletic department.