GT Day at the Capitol
The Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) unanimously voted over winter break to enter a special email session to pass an emergency bill funding bus transportation to GT Day at the Capitol. The bill itself, which also passed unanimously, allocated $300 out of the Undergraduate Legislative Reserve (ULR) for buses. By allocating the funds from ULR, UHR did not need to have the bill approved by the Joint Finance Committee or agreed to by the Graduate Student Senate, speeding its passage.
According to email correspondence made available to the Technique after the final vote, the Executive Branch of Undergraduate SGA applied for the bus funding from Auxiliary Service’s BuzzFunds, but were denied the funding. They were notified of the denial during final exams, after UHR had recessed for the semester.
The extraordinary circumstances caused some uncertainty among House leadership on how to conduct the vote because SGA bylaws only account for email votes during the summer.
“I am not comfortable with the gap in language as to how to handle votes between semesters,” wrote Speaker of the House Brooke McDaniel in the email introducing the vote to representatives. She directed House Administrative Committee Chair Mike Mosgrove to look into how to better handle the situation in the future.
Mosgrove criticized the Executive Branch on their handling of the funding. The Executive Branch is led by Undergraduate Student Body President Elle Creel and Executive Vice President Austen Edwards.
“I share concerns you may have with respects to why we have to ‘clean up’ the Executive Branch’s mess,” Mosgrove wrote in a message to representatives. “This is an incredibly disrespectful action against our branch of this organization, and we shall not continue [to] be the ‘pocket book’ of the Executive Branch’s will.”
Despite his concerns regarding the performance of the Executive Branch, Mosgrove continued to support the bill.
“I hope that we can all see past the mistakes of the Executive Cabinet and realize [that] the importance of this event is integral to our role as a Student Government and seeing to the representation of the Student Body properly,” Mosgrove wrote.
Representatives generally agreed with Mosgrove’s sentiments.
“I am in support of a bill that affects the entire GT community and the image of the Institute at a state level. I hope we will show the same consideration to [other] student organizations in the future,” wrote AE Rep. Paul Balla.
Junior Rep. and Vice President of Campus Services Eran Mordel, a member of the Executive Branch, defended the use of emergency ULR funds.
“[M]ore timely/appropriate steps could have been taken, but I wouldn’t be so fast in calling [the use of ULR funds] a complete ‘oversight’,” Mordel said.
Creel expressed satisfaction with the final result of the vote.
“With many issues affecting [Tech] students coming up this legislative session, it is important that students are at the Capitol talking to legislators and sharing their perspective. I am appreciative that the members of the House saw the importance of this and supported the event,” Creel wrote in an email.
UHR and the Graduate Senate will resume normal business on Tuesday. UHR will go into a retreat after their meeting to discuss how they will approach student organizations’ budgets. The retreat will be closed to the public.