Budget changes, lack of student body relationship plaguing EUSGA

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at 5:54 PM

Can anyone name who the Edinboro University Student Government Association (EUSGA) president was three years ago? How about two years ago? How about the current one? No? That’s what I thought. 

Remember last spring’s SGA election? You shouldn’t, because only one person ran for president. 

But we’ll get to that.

On April 6, we received an email from EUSGA Vice President of Finance Matthew Russell about the alteration of the general funds process for the academic year 2018-19. The old way to request funds from EUSGA was to submit a proposal within the academic year of the trip, secure a presentation date at a meeting in front of congress members, and then SGA would deny or approve your request for funds. Typically, you would know the day of your presentation whether or not you would receive money.

This past academic year, EUSGA allotted $30,000 for general fund use each semester. This meant that they could approve general fund requests until that $30,000 ran out. 

Russell said in the email that the general funds process has been “a source of many issues and frustration” for SGA and the student body. He goes on to say, “The primary problem has been a lack of student support in either Congress or the Finance Committee that has too often meant a quorum was not available for business decisions to be made.”

This part is really the kicker. Because SGA cannot keep enough congress members, all student organizations will have to suffer. 

Now, budget requests will be part of a yearly budget process, so all organizations should be submitting requests for the entire 2018-19 academic year in full by — wait for it — April 18. The initial round of the budget process opened April 11, which gave university organizations only one week to (hopefully) get together an entire next year’s budget. With the high turnover of many student organizations, with the busy schedules of faculty advisers come end-of-year, how could this possibly be the best timeline to move forward with?

The second round of the process is potential appeals, which can only be made by organizations if there was an error by the finance committee. So, again…April 18 is when you need to have your budget done.

In a time where the university and EUSGA have both preached wanting to strengthen the relationship between EUSGA, students and organizations — this is sure an odd way to go about it.

Basically, what this action says to me is that EUSGA doesn’t care if your club finds out in August about a cool conference that would benefit you all, because your budget was due in April. You’ll be stuck selling candy bars and popcorn on campus (to a bunch of poor college students, mind you) to try and make sure you get there. 

Will your club have new members in the next academic year with fresh ideas and aspirations? Well, that’s unfortunate since your club is doomed to whatever decisions you made last semester. 

Also, I’d argue that the middle of April is one of the worst times of the semester for this change. Everyone is starting to wrap up their semester-long projects, get ready for graduation, etc. This could not have come at a worse time.

In fall 2015, SGA had 30 congress members. Last semester, it was a measly 12 — and those people failed to show up to most meetings anyways. So now, because of a lack of commitment, student organizations are expected to know everything they want to do next academic year. Again, not really strengthening that bond. 

Now, let’s talk about the upcoming presidential election. As of publication, we are unaware of how many people are running for president and who those people are. But, according to the presidential candidate application on BoroSync, the only people eligible to run are those who have completed three semesters as a full-time student, served as a congress member for at least two semesters, served on at least two standing committees, and have a QPA of 2.5. 

Since the congress member numbers have been dropping like flies over the last few years, who do we have left who actually meets that criteria? 

Even though the university formed an EUSGA task force under former university president Dr. H. Fred Walker last semester (that he briefly mentioned at his student office hours on March 22), it doesn’t feel like anything is improving. 

And who’s to blame? EUSGA? The general student body and apathy? Student government advisers? I truly don’t know. What I do know is that this university’s student government is going to continue to flop without the help of everyone on campus.

That being said, voting for the next EUSGA president begins on Thursday morning. Vote, get involved, do what you have to in order to keep yourself in the know.

Dakota Palmer can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com

Tags: voices

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