The Student Government Association has proposed a bill that would install a $1 increase per student fee, per semester. The proposed bill, known as “The SGA Operating Act of 2014,” would use the increase in student fees to fund an operating budget for the SGA, separate from other University funds.
Currently, the SGA does not have its own funds for miscellaneous purposes, and applies for S.O.L.O. funds. The SGA is not eligible for Chapter 606 Student Monies Allocation Committee funds. According to Tech’s website, Chapter 606 is a committee that makes spending recommendations for student projects, activities and scholarships based on written requests submitted by students and student organizations.
If the bill passes, the operating budget would allow for student-only access to the S.O.L.O. funds and Chapter 606 funds, eliminating any conflict of interest where both the SGA and students would receive funding through the same medium.
The fund would be used for SGA operating activities, such as, but not limited to: bill implementation, promotion for campaigns, providing a means of funding for SGA delegations to the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature, and other miscellaneous activities requiring travel, providing refreshments during committee meetings, a homecoming float or any event that promotes the SGA.
“I think there is an explicit need for the SGA to get from underneath all of the oversight that comes with sharing money with administration,” said Alex Martin, senator for the College of Business, and author of the proposed bill. “I can’t tell you how many bills I’ve seen the SGA pass that never came to fruition.”
However, the bill was met with controversy during Tuesday’s meeting. Many senators voiced their displeasure for the bill, believing that if the bill made it to the student body, it would be viewed as beneficial only to the SGA. Even students attending the meeting voiced their opposition.
“He (Martin) saw the bill as a way to get more for the SGA, and to put the SGA above the students, and that’s not what it’s for,” said Victoria Rand, a freshman student at Tech. “It’s made up of students who are students. That’s the flaw in the bill: not that the SGA wants money, but the intent behind it. The students, themselves, are smart. If they read the bill, they would figure it out.”
After several minutes of heated debate, the bill was tabled until the last scheduled meeting of the semester.
“I always appreciate any senator bringing forth a bill,” said Emily McDonald, SGA president. “I’m glad it was tabled so that the senators can talk to their friends and fellow students, to see if it’s something the students really feel is needed. We represent them, and if this $1 fee would help them, then that’s great, but, if it won’t help them, then we don’t need to implement it.”
The last scheduled meeting of the semester is Dec. 2 at 9:15 p.m. in the Tech Pride Room in RUC. All of the student body is welcome to attend.