MCSG’s Legislative Body (LB) convened on April 4 to cover several updates, vote on a bill and hear budget appeals from six student organizations.
Program Board (PB) Chair Olivia Doe ’18 and Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) Chair Remy Eisendrath ’17 shared updates from their respective departments at the beginning of the meeting.
Doe reported a good turnout at the previous week’s events, including PB’s screening of The Simpsons Movie. Eisendrath said that the AAC received 68 nominations for the Educator of the Year award, but did not reveal which two professors have been selected as recipients.
The LB then moved on to vote on Bill 0021, which attempts to improve the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC).
The changes proposed in the bill were mainly procedural, with the intent of streamlining LB meetings by allowing the FAC to process requests in smaller meetings when its decisions are unanimous. After a brief debate to clarify certain technical provisions, the bill passed unanimously.
Throughout the meeting, representatives from six student orgs came to appeal the FAC’s decision on their budget proposals for the 2017-2018 academic year.
FAC Chair Sydney Keiler ’17 and Campus Activities and Operations Director Joan Maze explained their reasoning for their funding decisions for each org.
The orgs contesting their budget decisions were Fresh Concepts, Mac YARN, Bodacious, Chinese Culture Club (CCC), Europa and Queer Union (QU). While Mac YARN’s appeal was to resolve a clerical error, the remaining orgs plead their cases to the LB to receive their full funding.
Fresh Concepts, CCC and Europa all appealed cuts to their budget for events funding. Fresh Concepts wanted more funding to see improv shows during its trip to Chicago, while CCC and Europa argued for funding to provide food at various cultural events.
The LB reached a compromise to provide half of the requested funding to Fresh Concepts quickly, but debated at length over the importance of providing food at cultural events, like CCC’s Iron Chef competition or Europa’s Ukrainian appreciation festival.
For both orgs, the LB voted to provide partial funding for the food events in question and encouraged CCC and Europa to provide smaller portions instead of full meals.
For Bodacious and QU, the cases were slightly different because the orgs had not turned in their budgets on time.
According to the MCSG Financial Code, these orgs can still receive funding at the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester, but their budgets may not be approved if they are submitted past the deadline. Representatives from Bodacious presented their line item budget, and agreed to go through the funding process next semester.
The debate grew contentious, however, when QU representatives presented their appeal. They claimed to have turned in their budget only 28 minutes past the deadline and found the deadline to have been “dubiously communicated” by MCSG.
LB members debated over whether to approve the portion of the QU budget set for their speaker series. While some felt that the rules preventing this should have been relaxed, Maze argued that it would not be fair for the LB to make exceptions for one org.
“The other 85 orgs that got their budgets in on time knew the rules,” Maze said. “Everybody had the same standards. Equitability is holding everybody to the same standards one way or the other.”
“You’re walking a real thin line here with your ethics and with your bylaws,” she warned.
The debate went back and forth, and the LB voted to extend its meeting by 45 minutes. Finally, the motion to give QU a fraction of its budget came to a vote and passed with 13 votes in favor and 10 opposed. The meeting concluded at 9:51 p.m., nearly an hour after it was meant to conclude.