SGA Senate passes ASF budget
Medical students fight to receive funding
Published: Sunday, April 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 11:04
The UCF Student Government Association Senate passed the 2012-2013 Activity & Service Fee Budget with a vote count of 32-3-0 last Thursday night.
Though the approval of the $18.9 million budget was met with a round of applause, the special session was not without some controversy.
Bonnie Berry, president of the Graduate Student Association, spoke during open forum and presented a request on behalf of the association since the Graduate Student Assembly was removed from the constitution in March.
After presenting the association’s request, Berry asked that the Senate not punish the medical students, many of whom were in attendance and had hoped to receive funding through the assembly, because of feelings they may have about the assembly and the happenings over the last year.
Berry’s request was met with a response from Senate’s Conference Registration and Travel Committee Chair and member of the ASF Budget Committee David Moskovitz, who asked if she thought it was fair to punish ASF Budget Committee Chair Josh Miller, who had an impeachment affidavit that failed, filed against him by medical student Roger Sandelin in February.
Following brief fiscal and internal committee reports, Miller gave a presentation on Bill 44-83: The 2012-2013 Activity & Service Fee Budget Bill to Senate to show them how the budget was formed during the winter break meetings.
With the budget already balanced, SGA Vice President Adam Brock said he did not see where cuts could be made to accommodate the medical student organizations.
“I don’t necessarily think that it was the proper thing to come in the middle of special session, emotions were running high,” Brock said about the interactions with the medical students.
ASF Committee member and Vice Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee Grey Dodge clarified that the medical student organizations receive funding through Student Outreach Services, which falls under the Office of Student Involvement. Of the $220,750 budgeted for SOS, $35,000 will go to the medical school.
Dr. Michael Preston, director of the Office of Student Involvement, said that medical student organizations, which are not all registered with OSI, are funded through the M.D. Student Council. Once the Council decides how it wants to spend its funds, the request must be approved by Associate Director of OSI Chantel Carter.
The night’s first amendment was made by Financial Allocations for Organizations Committee Chair and ASF Committee member Kevin Gay. His amendment was to remove $35,000 from the ASF Business Office’s budget for repair and replacement and move it to OSI’s SOS budget so the amount going to the medical college would be doubled.
While some ASF Committee members and senators expressed concern with issuing a “blanket amount,” Sandelin handed Legislative, Judicial and Rules Committee Chair Nick Simons a document that detailed the medical students’ plans for the money. Simons then expressed his frustrations, saying he had information on how the medical students planned to spend the money.
With a vote count of 17-19-0, the amendment did not pass.
Another amendment was made by Operations Review Committee Chair Jacob Kahn to remove the $35,000, which led Senate to debating the legality of the funding since many of the medical student organizations are not registered with OSI.
With a vote count of 8-27-0, the amendment did not pass.
Gay made another amendment to add the GSA to the section of the budget packet that includes the registered student organizations and fund them $12,000.
With a vote count of 11-22-0, the amendment did not pass.
Sen. Emanuel Ozuna Vargas requested to reconsider his vote on Gay’s first amendment, and Senate voted that he could do so.
“I was kind of surprised, actually,” Gay said of Vargas’ request. “It’s just not something you see very often in Senate.”
Gay said he thought when Kahn’s amendment failed that it made many senators’ realize that if an amendment for zero funding wasn’t going to pass, then it was the level of funding that needed to be debated.
Gay submitted a secondary amendment that would give the medical student organizations an allotted period of time to register with OSI.
Though Preston said it would be possible to do that, Sandelin argued that it was not
The amendment did pass, giving medical student organizations until Jan. 31, 2013 to register with OSI.