By Branden LaCroix
SGA approved amending its bylaws to require classes to request funding rather than automatically allocating funds per year during its meeting Feb. 8.
President McKenzie Ward said classes are allocated funds every year, but said classes often don’t use their funding, preferring instead to let the yearly funds accumulate and use them during senior year to plan big events or class trips. As an example, Ward said the Class of 2019 used its class funding for Red Sox tickets and a trip to Mohegan Sun.
Every year, all four classes are given approximately $15,000 combined, according to Ward.
She proposed amending the bylaws to require future classes to request funding rather than be automatically funded, but said current funding would continue up to the class of 2026.
She said, with the amendment, “The current class would then still have access to the same amount of money if they so chose to use it, and then going forward, classes would still be able to ask for that money.
“I feel like that’s a more fair-and-balanced system for all classes,” she said.
Ward added having classes request funding would allow them to ask for more money than they would normally be allocated, “which may make these events more accessible because then you could allow for more students to attend, which would be really fantastic.”
When opened for debate, Senator Raffi Elkhoury asked for the reasoning behind continuing to fund classes up to 2026 if the problems with enrollment continue.
Ward said it is due to the funding of those classes being “already established.” She said, “It’s like letting them phase it out.”
Elkhoury proposed cutting off class funding starting with the Class of 2023 and amending the bylaws to require classes to request funding.
The motion passed 6-1 with no abstentions.
Ward reminded the members of SGA that the “Big Budget” meeting will take place Friday, Feb. 11.
During her President’s report, Ward said she and Dean Rachel Lucking have finished a commuter-student survey, which will help determine ways to better serve commuter students.
Ward said she believes there is more of a focus on resident students than commuters and she wants to “make sure their concerns and questions are being addressed in the same way residents’ are.”
She added she spoke with a representative of Art with Impact to visit FSU in April and host workshops on mental health and stigma reduction.
Ward said, “Even though students and people our age are more willing to talk about mental health, there is still significant stigma about mental illness and seeking mental health therapy.”
Art with Impact is a nonprofit organization that “promotes mental wellness by creating space for young people to learn and connect through art and media,” according to the group’s website.
During the Student Trustee report, Hillary Nna gave an update from the last Board of Trustees meeting.
She said COVID-19 testing will continue through the semester, a new Center for Civic Engagement is “in the works,” a $192,000 grant was given to the Humanities Department by the National Endowment for Humanities, and there is $140,000 in new scholarships for students in education and food and nutrition education.
She added the Rams Resource Center extended its hours of operation to 10 hours a week and it has “given out over 350 pounds of food and over 700 items.”
Senator Mark Haskell said Community-Building Day will take place April 6 with the theme “youth standing against racism.”
He said, “The goal of this theme is to engage students, administration, faculty, staff, and campus police officers to foster a statewide culture of tolerance, equity, equality, and anti-racism, while calling on each and every one of you to stand up against racial prejudice.”
During the Diversity and Inclusion Officer’s report, Ward – speaking on behalf of Dara Barros – said the Center for Inclusive Excellence plans to create an “affinity group council” which will meet twice this semester in March and April.
Sara Gallegos said the Veteran & Military Services Center is holding a clothing drive. Donations can be left at the Veterans Services Center in Room 113 in Dwight Hall.
During the Vice President’s report, Emma Sullivan reminded the members that the Drag Bingo event is taking place Feb. 24.
During Open Forum, Haskell said many washing machines and dryers on campus are still leaving “a residual, foul odor on clothes” after their use. “I’m surprised that nothing had been done over break to alleviate that situation.”
Secretary Samuel Houle said it should be brought up at the next RA council meeting.
[Editor’s Note: McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor for The Gatepost. Mark Haskell is a staff writer for The Gatepost.]