09/17/10: Council Clippings

Each week, this section includes coverage of different aspects of Student Government, including the Undergraduate House of Representatives, Graduate Student Senate and the Executive Branch of both governments.

Reading program considered

Both the GSS and UHR failed bills funding the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program during meetings on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Both houses defeated the bill by large margins.

The graduates expressed concern over the actual readers of the newspaper and attempted to find some way to limit readers to only students. While senators suggested asking USA Today to provide a bid at a $10,000 funding level, half of the requested amount, the bill was eventually defeated 13-23-1.

The discussion in UHR centered around alternative ways to provide print newspapers to students. Senior Representative Jacob Tzegaegbe suggested that SGA set up a program where newspapers be sold using BuzzCard readers and, others asked if there was any way USA Today could alter the current displays to only distribute to students.

HTS Representative Kaitlyn Whiteside, the author of the bill, said that USA Today was unable to do anything that would limit readers. Representatives failed the bill 9-35-2.

When asked about reviving the program, Whiteside responded that she would not raise the issue again in her capacity as HTS Representative. “Representatives may consider it again for the budget in the spring,” Whiteside said, “They can weigh the pros and cons of the program then.”

Travel funding policy

During discussion on a bill amending Joint Finance Committee Policy, representatives debated the best way to reimburse organizations for the cost of travel. They voted to give JFC the authority to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

In the original policy, SGA granted funds to organizations based on reported estimates of distance and members who were to travel. With the new policy change, organizations must report the actual distance traveled and how many members made the trip.

AE Representative Elliot Mork expressed concern that this change would cause “undue burden” on organizations. Junior Representative Alex Walker agreed, mentioning that it was not rare for several members of a group to drop out of a trip at the last minute, likely complicating the expenses.

Although the bill passed the House 42-5-0, it differed from the version passed by GSS. The differences will be resolved in conference committee next week.

Step-show funding

Undergraduate representatives and graduate senators debated the wisdom of funding the National Panhellenic Council’s annual step-show to be held the week of homecoming. According to representatives from NPHC, the show has filled the Ferst Center each year. GSS discussed concern over funding the show in addition to the other events the Student Center will be hosting that week. The undergraduates questioned the organization representative on how the ticket sales will be used. Despite these discussions, both bodies passed the bill, 25-1-4 by GSS and 40-6-0 by UHR.