SGA announced an initiative to publicize the counseling resources available on campus in light of the recent incidences of students taking their own lives at Rutgers University and the University of Texas – Austin, as well as the suicide of Tech CHEM Ph.D candidate Derek Benicewicz.
UHR and GSS passed a joint resolution expressing condolences for Benicewicz’s death. During the GSS meeting the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 5 friends of Benicewicz spoke in his memory. Dr. Ruperto Perez, Director of Counseling, spoke to UHR later that day.
Graduate Student Body President Anthony Baldridge spoke to the GSS body before yielding the floor to Senator Arren Washington, a friend and colleague of Benicewicz. Both Baldridge and Undergraduate Student Body President Corey Boone addressed the Undergraduate House. Boone encouraged unity among SGA and asked that representatives take care of themselves and those they lead.
In a statement, Vice President of Communications Brooke McDaniel underscored the recent deaths and encouraged all students to “support each other in coping with academic, occupational and personal trials.” She went on to firmly state that Tech should be a place of “mutual respect and reinforcement.”
Both houses of SGA debated a bill funding Tech’s Sports Parachute Club. The bill asked for funds to purchase equipment, pay for practice fees and pay for tournament fees.
GSS discussed the bill at length after listening to a representative from the club describe the club’s numerous accomplishments that include multiple parachutingworld records.
The representative emphasized that without the funding, the club would be unable to purchase necessary safety equipment required by the Federal Aviation Administration and would essentially cease to exist.
GSS commended the club for its numerous accomplishments but shared concerns about how much money would be allocated to a club of only 19 members.
The original bill submitted requested a total of $26,740 after the club’s annual budget was reduced from approximately $27,000 to $12,000. GSS appoved the bill after reducing it’\s cost to $16,088.
UHR moved to cut the bill beyond what Joint Finance Committee recommended during a 45 minute debate. Representatives struggled to decide how much weight to give to the club’s successes and small size. The representatives eventually passed a bill authorizing funding at less than half of what the organization asked for.
Skydiving club was unhappy with the way the bill was discussed. “They didn’t seem to really appreciate or acknowledge how much our members have spent and contributed to the club and the sport,” said Greg Lennartz, president of the group.
Some representatives agreed that the bill should have been more fully funded. “If we were to support [the club], then let’s do it entirely, and not chip large portions out of their bill,” Sophomore Representative Eran Mordel said.
Matlock Rogers, IE Representative, supported the cuts made. “I’m glad that the House was able to find an appropriate way to allocate funding to the [Sport Parachute Club]. It was unfortunate that they did not act proactivly to fundraise this summer after their budget was reduced in the spring,” he said.
Because GSS and UHR passed different versions of the bill, members of both houses will meet in conference committee to create a final version.