Funding proposal system leads to confusion at SGA meeting
Editor’s note: This story was adjusted for clarity.
Student Government Senators faced confusion about their funding proposal system during the Student Government Association meeting Monday, Feb. 3.
Seven funding requests were processed, with four passed by unanimous vote. Although still passed, requests from Zeta Phi Beta sorority inc., Psi Chi and Psychology Club were not passed unanimously.
Zeta Phi Beta members requested a $200 reimbursement for tickets to their Centennial Gala. During the question and answer portion, senators asked what Zeta Phi Beta did as an organization, what their experience was like and if it served a learning purpose.
Three senators voted no on the request: Layla Bouzihay, Georgia Park and Logan Phillips.
Ericka Moehlenkamp and Alex Bansbach, Psi Chi Vice President and Treasurer, respectively, requested $1,540 for train tickets for Psi Chi members and $2,000 to cover hotel costs for Psychology Club members to attend the Midwestern Psychological Association conference in Chicago.
Student Issues Committee Chairman Justin Tuschhoff was the first to raise a concern about the funding, noting funding both Psi Chi and the Psychology Club may result in some students being doubly funded.
Psi Chi is an international fraternity to which undergraduate and graduate students studying psychology are invited to join, while Psychology Club is open to anyone on campus. Though the two clubs are seperate, they have a small group of students that overlap in their groups. The clubs are attending the same conference, but they have different goals in terms of what they learn from the conference.
Tuschhoff’s concern came from the possibility the overlapping students would benefit from both requests.
Many senators still had unanswered questions, which lead to the longest question and answer session of the night with some members appearing more confused than when they started.
“Just for clarification, in case anyone else is kind of confused like me, so we’re funding the same students twice?” Tuschhoff asked.
Sen. Payton Ruddy responded by saying even though there is some overlap in the clubs, they are still two separate clubs and have to submit requests as such. The Executive Board did recall Moehlenkamp to explain the point of view from the Psychology Club side.
“It’s not different students, but they are kind of different opportunities,” Moehlenkamp explained. “I know it’s a little confusing with having similar students go on the same thing, but we offer different things as a club. We only do it together because it is such a big conference, and we’re going all the way to Chicago.”
When the Senators voted to move into the discussion portion, Ruddy voiced her support for Psi Chi and Psychology Club but later abstained from both votes.
“I will say, I do think we should fund them. I’m friends with Alex and he came back from MPA last year and he wouldn’t stop talking about it,” Ruddy said. “He had so much fun and learned so much — I would definitely encourage funding this because I know it’s a super cool experience.”
Psi Chi’s funding passed with Ruddy being the only abstention.
Moehlenkamp returned to the podium when Psychology Club’s proposal came up for discussion. She elaborated on previous responses and answered remaining questions and concerns.
With confusion still evident, Tuschhoff suggested tabling Psychology Club’s proposal until a later date.
Phillips suggested since Psi Chi’s request had already been approved, it wouldn’t be right to table Psychology Club’s request.
The senators ultimately voted to approve Psychology Club’s funding request, and Ruddy again abstained.
Sen. Sophia Machen, along with two other senators, suggested the proposal system go under review to avoid this confusion in the future. Jacobs said such uncertainty had been a problem previously, and the senate agreed the process should be reviewed.