By Steven Bonini
SGA received three funding requests for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) from organizations, including Gaming Club, Comic Book Club, and Motivation. Intersectionality. Solidarity. Sisterhood. (M.I.S.S.) during its Feb. 22 meeting.
The first funding request was made by Audrius Sebeda on behalf of the Gaming Club, which requested $3,351.67 for a Super Smash Bros. game tournament event.
Sebeda said $3,000 of the request would go toward a company called “Next Level Gaming,” which would supply four large digital screens, one other screen, a crew of people, and other equipment for the event.
The rest of the money requested would go toward food for the event as well as prizes for first, second,
and third place winners of the tournament, he said.
Senator Raffi Elkhoury asked Sebeda if this event had been done before, and if so, what type of turnout was seen.
“This event has been done before by the previous Gaming Club,” said Sebeda. “They had this sort of tournament idea a couple years back.”
This would be a “wide-open event” he said, adding an estimated 50 people would be in attendance, including the staff sent by Next Level Gaming.
Sara Gallegos, advisor for SGA, said she recalls a big turnout for the event in the past and the funding for the tournament is an all-or-nothing situation.
Senator Mark Haskell asked when the event would take place, and Sebeda responded the tournament would be held on April 21 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the McCarthy Center Forum.
A motion was taken in favor of the event and no debate occurred.
The motion passed for the full amount requested 7-0 with no abstentions.
The next request was presented by Jacob Sargent from the Comic Book Club.
Sargent brought forward a request of $7,500, which would be used for a virtual event with Voice Actor Rob Paulsen.
He said the Comic Book Club ran this event in the past with Paulsen appearing in an open forum over Zoom, adding the event was very successful with “approximately 40 people” attending the virtual event.
Sargent said during the event, Paulson discussed his career and also held a question-and-answer session.
“We’re hoping to run the same event again because it generated a lot of interaction during a period where there was exceedingly less interaction,” said Sargent, adding, “We’re hoping to continue this tradition.”
Senator Sam Houle asked Sargent why the organization decided to go with Paulson for a second time instead of trying to get a new speaker in the same field.
“We have attempted other speakers in the past such as Tara Strong, but we’ve had consistent
communication with Rob Paulson and his agent. So, it’s been a more streamlined process,” said Sargent.
A vigorous debate was held about the proposal.
Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dara Barros said she didn’t believe granting the full amount of $7,500 made sense given the fact the organization drew only 40 participants at the last event.
“The turnout doesn’t seem to be a huge event,” she said.
Elkhoury agreed with Barros’ argument and said it’s a “big chunk of change” to spend for an event that’s been done before, adding he’d be more comfortable funding a new speaker.
Sargent said while they did see only 40 participants previously for the event, that was “in the midst of COVID where everything was online.”
With more people returning to campus, “the capability of advertising through Gatepost or the electronic sign outside McCarthy, there’s a much higher chance of reaching a much larger audience,” he added.
A vote was taken on the motion, which failed to pass 2-5 with no abstentions.
Barros put forward a new motion to “not fund Gaming Club for their Rob Paulson meet and greet,” and the motion passed 7-0 with no abstentions.
The final funding request came from M.I.S.S., presented by Mariah Farris.
Farris requested $9,127.49 for their event, “M.I.S.S. Madness,” which takes place during the last week of March.
She said the event is spread out across the week and includes a carnival on that Friday, adding some of the functions will be in collaboration with affinity groups.
A motion was put forward in favor of the event with no debate and the motion passed 7-0 with no abstentions.
Following the funding requests, SGA requested changes to its bylaws and its constitution for this semester and going forward including:
· Funding abilities for Group Three organizations
· e-Board members of organizations winning prizes at their own organization’s events
· Elimination of the 15-signature requirement to run to be a senator
· Making Administrators Forum a duty of the vice president and the Campus Safety Walk a duty of the
· Allowing the president and treasurer of each class the ability to request funding through the finance committee and senate.
The requested change to Group Three organizations will give them the ability to request funding during the fall semester “if they have spent a minimum of 60% of their budget and have a plan for how they will use the requested amount and remaining 40% of their funds,” said Vice President Emma Sullivan.
Regarding the change for e-Board members at their own events, Sullivan said the change came on “moral” grounds and used the example of SGA members attending the “Drag Bingo” event.
“Any of our e-Board in SGA isn’t going to be eligible to win ... any of the prizes because we’re the ones who pay for it [and] picked it out,” she said.
President McKenzie Ward said the decision to request the elimination of the 15-signature requirement to nominate somebody as a senator came on the basis that the requirement isn’t “equitable.”
She said this requirement is especially difficult for freshmen who “may not know a ton of people on campus,” adding, “Trying to go up to random people to get signatures can be intimidating.”
In terms of the decision to request Administrators Forum be a duty of the vice president and the Campus Safety Walk a duty of the president, Ward said these events are currently designated to the student trustee, but “to alleviate the work of whoever the student trustee is, we’ve decided to designate these two different people.”
Additionally, Ward said the vice president and president are better aligned to lead these events.
Lastly, Ward said the decision to allow class presidents and treasurers the ability to request funding through the finance committee and senate will be fair as classes will be treated like organizations in the funding process.
Allowing the president of a class the ability to participate in the funding request process is also important, said Ward because sometimes a class doesn’t have a treasurer to speak on the classes’ behalf.
All SGA requested constitution and bylaw changes were passed.
Student Trustee Hillary Nna passed the “U-ROCK” to Houle.
The “U-Rock” is presented to recognize a senator’s accomplishments during the weeks between meetings.