Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SGA tables funding request for COVID-19 effected conference

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Graphic by Ally Bruemmer

Student Government members discussed concerns with student groups about upcoming conference plans as a result of the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, during their Monday, March 9 meeting.

SGA members heard six funding resolutions during their weekly meeting, five of which were passed and one was tabled; The tabled resolution requested funds from the SGA conference budget. The resolution came from the Print and Sculpture Club, requesting funds for registration costs, but following an announcement by the Southern Graphics Council that its international conference in Puerto Rico was postponed, they needed funds in a new area.

SGC’s annual conference, held April 1 through 4, was postponed due to fears following the spread of COVID-19 and cancellations from attendees, vendors and panelists, according to a post on its website.

Print and Sculpture Club was notified of the postponement two hours prior to their appearance to request funds at SGA. The club originally applied for $120 towards registration fees but changed its request to instead see whether they could get reimbursement for members’ plane tickets.

“We just found out about two hours ago that that conference was canceled due to the coronavirus,” said Ryan Nevill, club vice president. “We cannot get refunded for our plane tickets, due to United Airlines [policies]. We were advised to stand before you tonight to ask that we can get funding for said tickets.”

Several senators tried to aid in the decision by researching United Airlines policies or contributing what knowledge they had about company policies from personal experience.

Senators also voiced concerns over whether reimbursing Print and Sculpture Club was a decision they should be tasked with making.

“I think we should all be conscious of whether or not this is our place,” Sen. Christian Ondr said. “This coronavirus situation is all happening pretty [much] right now, in the moment, and we don’t know how it’s going to play out. Perhaps it’s too soon for us to make a call of whether or not we should get involved.”

Sen. Kate Appleman suggested the resolution be tabled until more information was made available to the Print and Sculpture Club and SGA. Appleman’s motion passed, with Senators Georgia Park, Reagen Tibbs, Heather Hoffman, Payton Ruddy and Xander Goffinet voted against tabling.