SGA passed a bill allocating $19,893 to DramaTech for emergency replacement of lighting and sound equipment. The Undergraduate House voted for the bill 35-10-2 and the Graduate Senate voted 17-7-1. The bill was moved up one week at the request of DramaTech to allow them time to prepare for their spring musical, Little Shop of Horrors.
The bill will fund Broadway-quality equipment for the organization including software, monitors, computers and controllers. The bill’s only amendment reduced the amount allocated to the purchase of a Mac Pro to $1600 from $2637.
Debate in GSS centered on the revenue available to DramaTech and the speed with which the bill had been brought to the floor.
When asked about the revenue available to the organization, David Quigley, president of DramaTech, said that the revenues generated from ticket sales went directly towards funding shows. He continued by saying raising ticket sales was not an option because DramaTech did not wish to lower the number of attendees.
AE Sen. Will Runge, a member of Joint Finance Committee, said in an email, “SGA has a very real responsibility to support [DramaTech] to the [greatest] extent possible. However, unlike many organizations on campus, DramaTech also has a great source of revenue from their ticket sales— one which they have not tapped to its fullest, in my opinion.”
Runge questioned the representatives of DramaTech extensively on the organization’s finances and need for the bill and appeared unsatisfied with the research they conducted into alternative funding sources.
“Considering the passage of this bill and the fact that they have requested a budget of almost $60,000 for next year, I hope that when they come to SGA for future capital expenditures, they will have a better answer as to what alternatives they have investigated,” Runge said.
UHR spent 40 minutes discussing the bill. Several representatives, including ECON Rep. Julianne Camacho and Member-at-large Alex Smailes, expressed reservations over the limited amount of fund-raising that had been done by DramaTech.
Although he voted for the bill, Smailes said in an email, “I understand that we fund some organizations to purchase the best equipment available, but to me those organizations are contributing to the future careers (or current scholarships in the case of athletes) of those students. Because Georgia Tech does not have an actual major in the realm of theater, it is my belief that we are to fund what is necessary for them to function to the point where equipment is not holding back the production.”
Senior Rep. Patrick O’Connor spoke several times in support of the quality of the equipment, citing his experience working in the theater industry.
“To me, [asking DramaTech to build a computer] would be the same as asking the Kayak Club to whittle their own kayaks,” O’Connor said in an email.
UHR and GSS waived Joint Finance Committee policy to fund transportation to the Woodruff Arts Center for event attendees. The $500 bill will pay for half of the cost of renting Stingers, and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs will pay for the other $500. The bill did not meet policy because it funded travel within 150 miles of campus.
When asked about the waiving of JFC policy for this bill, Brad Bauerkemper, chair of the JFC, said in an email, “I believe that in order to facilitate greater use of the Woodruff Arts Center and encourage the purchase of the Woodruff Arts Center Pass, funding travel is a necessary expense…. I do, however, believe that the travel policy should be amended in the future to allow this and a few other exceptions that are often requested….I believe it is one of a few policy changes I will be recommending to the next JFC chair to take on.”
Graduate Student Body President Anthony Baldridge and Undergraduate Student Body President Corey Boone defended the passage of the College Republicans bill during GSS and UHR, respectively.
Baldrige addressed the Senate during his report, saying that while the bill skirted the edge of JFC policy, it did not violate it since it did not fund a specific candidate.
Boone gave a similar argument during Open Forum at UHR, saying that JFC could not draw a link between the conference the bill would be funding and a particular candidate. Senior Rep. Jacob Tzegaegbe contributed to the discussion, saying that the College Republicans’ assertion that the event had been funded in the past convinced him to not bring up the political activity clause of JFC policy.