Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, December 14, 2018

SG Undergraduate Senate approves rollover fund allocation

The Undergraduate Senate unanimously voted to approve a bill to reallocate $22,000 in rollover funds to the AU Club Council and the Student Media Board during its emergency meeting on Nov. 18. Both organizations will get $11,000.

Last year, students voted to pass a referendum that called for a $15 dollar increase in the Student Activities fee and a change to the distribution, the Eagle previously reported. Under the new distribution, Student Government would receive 50 percent of the Student Activities Fee and 25 percent would go to Student Media Board and AUCC each, within a six point margin.

However, for the transition year, the Senate passed a resolution that said SG would give Student Media Board and AUCC $60,000 in rollover. The $60,000 came from an estimate from Student Activities, according to Student Government President Sophia Wirth’s report that she gave at the meeting.

SG only had $22,000 in rollover funds due to many costs that came in after the fiscal year ended. Expenses that came after the fiscal year ended were then taken out of the $60,000, Wirth said. Student Activities will now be responsible for allocating the money.

After the vote, the senate floor was opened up to public comment, when students brought up various issues regarding the rollover.

Mike Wang, co-chair of the Media Board and former speaker of the Senate, came to speak on behalf of the Media Board and on behalf of the student caucus, Students Unite Now (SUN). He condemned the process that the Media Board had to go through to get the money and SUN’s disapproval of the proposed tuition increase.

“This was a much more difficult process than I think it should have been,” Wang said. “On behalf of the Media Board, … I express my sincere disappointment that the student government had us jump through hoops along the way.”

During the debate to remove Wang as Speaker last week, a few senators brought up the email chain that Wang sent out as co-chair of the Media Board, urging members to email senators to urge them to take action on the reallocation of funds.

A few other senators spoke at the end of Nov. 18 meeting. Will Mascaro, Dante Bucci and Josh Zucker all publicly criticized The Eagle for its Nov. 13 staff editorial. Zucker chastised The Eagle’s opinion that it has been mistreated by SG in the past.

“What is particularly disturbing to me is the reporting by The Eagle,” Zucker said. “In a recent article, The Eagle argued that SG has treated them poorly and has a secret agenda of withholding funds.”

Mascaro and Zucker both spoke directly to Wang and his involvement with SUN.

“SUN decided to be loud, angry and unreasonable,” Zucker said.

One senator, Katherine Saltzman for the Class of 2017, urged the people in the room to step back for a moment and look at the whole situation.

“I think it’s important that we don’t pit against each other in the student body, but that we are really critical of how the administration allocates its funds,” Saltzman said.

Zucker also spoke about the various attacks SG has faced in the past couple of weeks. In particular, the situation with the rollover has shown up on various social media platforms, especially the anonymous message board app Yik Yak.

Wirth also brought up the attacks that are showing up on social media.

“We do have control over how we conduct ourselves as [these events] transpire,” she said. “We can choose to be civil to one another, we can choose to be respectful of each other’s positions and roles, we can choose to maintain and promote basic levels of decency. But we didn’t do that. We chose to not do that.”

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