SGA president delays decision on activity fund increase

An SGA majority voted against a $45 increase to the Student Activity Fee. (Elizabeth Yacone / Staff Photographer)

Billy Plastine, Student Government Association (SGA) executive president, vetoed a majority vote by the SGA general body to strike down a resolution supporting a proposed $45 increase to the Student Activity Fee (SAF) during their meeting last week.

The Student Finance Board (SFB) outlined some of their reasons for the proposed change in a brief presentation held prior to voting.

“Every year there are a few things you look at in the increase plan … This would allow us to fund more events students are asking for and begin events that are not currently in place,” Mike Stolar, executive director of SFB and senior finance major, said.

The SAF typically increases by about 3 percent every year to match inflation rates, according to Stolar.

“It was 2.6 percent last year,” Stolar said.

This fiscal year, the increase was capped at 3 percent in conjunction with the capped increases to “tuition, other general fees and general inflation,” according to SGA Resolution R-S2010-06.

The resolution, drafted by Brian Block, vice president of administration and finance and SGA representative on the SFB, outlines the rationale behind the suggested fee hike.

“The (SFB) has successfully executed its (SAF) increase plan for the current fiscal year, and students have responded positively to the last SAF increase of $60, as seen in increased attendance to SAF-funded programs, including many sold-out events,” the resolution stipulates.

The resolution met a majority vote of “no” from the general body, failing it, but Plastine vetoed the decision of the general body, delaying the verdict on the resolution until next week.

“Billy’s veto neither failed nor passed (the resolution). It more tabled it,” said Olaniyi Solebo, sophomore political science and economics double major. Solebo is the current vice president for legal and governmental affairs and executive president-elect of SGA.

SGA

“You have to override my veto by a 2/3 vote, taken next week,” Plastine said.

Stolar hopes the SGA will reconsider their decision not to support the proposed increase.

“I’m kind of taken aback by that decision,” Stolar said. “One person came to see me to ask a question … One thing is, we’ll notice a jump in programming every time there’s an increase … I would like to have the opportunity to meet with the main opponents of this resolution to discuss what their problems are with it and why it wasn’t approved.”

The SGA also heard a presentation regarding changes to the faculty office hour policy.

Jie Kang, member of the Committee on Faculty Affairs and professor of health and exercise science, spoke to students about the revised faculty accessibility plan. The plan has been in the works for some time now, with the Academic Affairs committee of the SGA working closely with the Committee on Faculty Affairs. The policy, originally intended to mandate office hours for professors, has been revised to encompass accessibility in all forms.

Sophomore elementary education and mathematics double major Karyn Unger listed two reasons why the policy was revised in this aspect.

“At some points in the semester you may have to make appointments more than others,” said Unger, senator of the school of education. “It also might be inconvenient for adjunct faculty.”

“We’re trying to not only include office hours, but have each course syllabi indicate how you can communicate with students … list office hours, but also try to go above and beyond. Sometimes, office hours are just not enough. We didn’t want to call for just office hours, because that can be interpreted in different ways by different professors. That’s why we created an accessibility policy,” Kang said.

The SGA also sanctioned a new club, the Order of the Nose-Biting Teacups. The club aims to unite students who might otherwise never meet through a mutual love of Harry Potter. It also intends to embark on humanitarian pursuits, primarily through volunteering at local schools to promote children’s literacy, according to president Siobhan Sabino, sophomore computer science major.

“We want to reach out to the campus and spread Harry Potter awareness … We also want to reach out to the community, because a lot of the time, we don’t look outside the (College) bubble. We want to ensure that no Harry stays stuck in the cupboard,” Sabino said.