Student Government passes spring 2022 budget

Bills to roll over funds, change stipends and allocate money to Founders Week pass

Student Government passes spring 2022 budget

The American University Student Government Undergraduate Senate approved the allocation of $178,000 to the spring 2022 budget Dec. 5. 

Additionally, the Senate passed bills to roll over unused fall 2021 funds and change some members’ stipends

The Kennedy Political Union was given $68,000, totaling $80,000 with rollover funds, and the Student Union Board was allocated $79,604.90, totaling $82,516.40 when accounting for rollover funds.

Traditionally, KPU has received the largest amount of funding between the three main boards — KPU, SUB and Women’s Initiative — but that was changed in the spring 2022 budget because of KPU’s ability to bring in free speakers and use unspent funds from the fall 2021 budget. 

“They’re the only board that can bring speakers for free. Elected officials have no cost and we’re hopeful that they will utilize that more often,” finance committee chairman and junior Ryan Hale said in the meeting. “Secondly, KPU left $12,000 unspent this semester and the committee did not want to encourage stakeholders to not spend their entire budget in the semester it was allocated.”

Additionally, the finance committee requested KPU’s report to bring in one right-of-center speaker and one progressive, leftist speaker. If KPU does not submit this report by March 6, the finance committee will withhold its funding, they said.

“In this semester, it’s essential that communication is present and diversity of thought is maintained,” Hale said. 

The constitutionality of this will be left up to the Judicial Board when they are nominated and take office in the spring. 

Women’s Initiative took a funding cut compared to the $66,750 they were given in fall 2021. They received an additional $10,968.09 in funding, bringing its spring 2022 total to $50,000. The funds for spring 2022 for Women’s Initiative are still higher than they were pre-pandemic. The Eagle previously reported SG funding reallocation to Women’s Initiative, which grew significantly in spring 2021 but fell in fall 2021 slightly. If needed, they can request additional funding from the reserves account, Hale said.

“Women's Initiative spent significantly less than their allocation for the past several semesters, so they should receive less money than this current semester,” Hale said. 

The SG general fund received an additional $3,250, totaling $5,000. This was done so money for SG President Chyna Brodie’s State of the Union Gala was reallocated to this account, rather than from the president’s programming fund. 

Additionally, the Center for Student Involvement allocated $22,000 for stipends for SG stipends. 

“The committee tried to change it, and we were overruled,” Hale said when explaining how the committee wanted more funds for stipends. 

All the executive positions, except the president, were given a raise in their stipend at the expense of the stipends for currently vacant positions. In fall 2021, the president received $2,500. Before the pandemic, the president’s stipend was around $9,000, The Eagle previously reported. 

“This was done not because the committee felt that the president had underperformed in her duties, but instead because the committee felt the other executives were paid less than their responsibilities demanded,” Hale said.

During the meeting, SG President Chyna Brodie advocated for a raise in the president’s stipend. Brodie said she works around 30 hours a week as SG president, and she enjoys getting to connect with students in her role. 

“I feel that my stipend should reflect the amount of work I’m doing day in and day out as president,” Brodie said. 

In an amended bill, the secretary’s cabinet fund decided to allocate $100 from their stipend to the president’s stipend, bringing the stipend total to $2,600 for spring 2022. 

The amended stipend bill passed, with six aye’s and three nays. 

The Undergraduate Senate also passed a bill to use $44,500 from the SG reserves account to allocate to Founders Week, now totaling the Founders budget at $104,000. 

Founders traditionally receives around $200,000, according to Founders Director Jeremy Ward. 

Additionally, the bill to roll over unused funds passed, with only one objection from class of 2023 Senator Fernanda Reyes.

SG wrapped up their last meeting of the 16th Undergraduate Senate and prepared for the 17th Undergraduate Senate for spring 2022. 

The meeting was followed by a town hall allowing students to understand the allocation of their student activity fund. 

“For students, it is imperative that we remain the most transparent recipient of student money,” Hale said in the meeting. 

aturner@theeagleonline.com 

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.