Second to last student government meeting finalizes annual budget allocations


Sarah Henry/Iowa State Daily

Women in student government voting during their meeting on Nov. 29. at the Memorial Union.

Devyn Leeson

Student Government’s March 28 meeting focused on different issues regarding annual budget allocations and public relations restructuring.

Finance Director Steven Valentino said at the start of the meeting, “Today’s the big day, we are going to allocate over $2 million in one go.”

The single largest line item in the budget was for the regular allocations account, which dictates spending for student and campus organizations.

Valentino explained before the spending vote was held that the over $1.6 million allocated to student organizations was $70,000 less than last year due to a decline in campus enrollment.

Another contributing factor to lower spending was that fewer student organizations came forward to be funded again. However, Valentino said, this was slightly offset by some new campus groups being funded for the first time, something he called exciting.

In the end, the spending bill was split up into two votes: the first vote, which passed unanimously, was regarding the annual allocations for student organizations and general spending. The second vote, which passed with 25 yes votes and 2 people abstaining, focused on Student Government spending in particular.

Before passing, the second measure was amended to lower spending in Student Government while also increasing spending that would help maintain Student Government’s streaming system that allows for online viewership of the meetings.

The bill was additionally amended to increase the compensation of the vice president to ¾ of tuition up from ½ tuition.

The final spending bill, amounting to over $2.4 million, passed unanimously.

There were also three votes in regards to different clubs requests for unaccounted for budget changes.

Both Tennis Club and Photo Club got their requested budget changes unanimously while the National Society of Black Engineers didn’t get everything they wanted. Their original request was an increase in funding by $3,372.24, but it was amended to raise their budget by $762.24.

While there was little debate and discussion over the proposed budget the public relations restructuring was debated and questioned for much longer.

In the current structure of student government, many of the leftover business items gets pushed onto the PR committee. Cody West, in response to this issue, made a taskforce last November to try and simplify the PR committee. The final proposal was due last week and was debated by the Senate Wednesday.

The proposal was to combine the director of advertising and marketing and the director of communications. Critics of this proposal said that both of the roles were integral and had to stay intact in order for operations to work efficiently. Others said the single role would be too much responsibility and workload for a single person.

One thing that people were in agreement on is that the proposal would give the president the power to assign the members of the PR committee rather than the Senate.

In the end the Senate could not come to a decision and referred the bill back to the rules committee where it will be amended and debated again next week.

Vice President Cody Smith, who rarely gives his opinion on matters, said that he thought it was “ridiculous” that members of the Student Government would send it back when next week is the last opportunity they will have to pass it before the next session.

Student Government also proposed a bill called “Keep Iowa State University Affordable” that is essentially a call to action for the state legislature to stop the trend of mid-year cuts. President West said that he would also like to send the statement to the student body as the Student Government had been closely involved in lobbying against the cuts.