Wendler brings ‘Saluki Way’ to USG for discussion
The Undergraduate Student Government president guaranteed the senate Wednesday he would soon deliver an alternative to the current funding guidelines.
The promise was in response to a flurry of criticism targeted at President Nate Brown after Sen. Andy Fruth intercepted a letter from Brown to the Saluki Rainbow Network Oct. 11.
The letter aimed to schedule a meeting between Brown and 18 Registered Student Organizations he chose by type of group and size of membership. Many senators cried foul, and accused Brown of only selecting groups unsatisfied with USG.
Sen. Joe Moore said Monday that USG e-mail accounts buzzed with messages supporting Fruth and decrying the president’s actions. Brown should have contacted all RSOs and been transparent in his business, Fruth said Monday.
Brown vehemently responded to criticism during his executive address at Wednesday’s senate meeting.
“I think I may have missed a meeting,” Brown said. “Because apparently somewhere down the line USG held a meeting with every single RSO about the funding guidelines.”
To Brown’s knowledge, the senate failed to organize a meeting with student groups before writing a resolution to eliminate travel funding from USG’s guidelines, he said. The resolution, vetoed by Brown Oct. 5, could still be overruled at a future senate meeting.
Holding the president to different standards was “utterly ridiculous,” Brown said.
“I will be delivering funding guidelines and there will be an alternative,” Brown said. “I assure you.”
The Student Center’s Renaissance Room was silent until a loud laugh by Moore. Brown opened the floor to questions and Moore asked him if he had taken the senate’s resolution opposing towing fee increases to the City Council. Brown replied no.
Moore criticized Brown for a lack of activity among the executive branch. The senator proposed a mandate requiring Brown to post a schedule of USG-funded events in the group’s office on the Student Center’s third floor, an action Moore said the president neglected for weeks.
“The student activity fee should be used to enhance and enrich the experience of the students on campus,” Brown said after another senator requested to hear his opinion of the student activity fee’s mission.
The activity money is paid by all full-time students and allocated to RSOs by USG. Student government is incapable of simultaneously allocating the money and being the voice of the students, Brown said.
Popular opinion in the senate dictates the money should only be spent on events open to the entire student population.
Moore requested Brown refrain from publicly criticizing current USG funding practices until he had an alternative of his own.
“I think it’s very important to keep the pressure up,” Brown said. “I think it’s very important for people to know what’s going on and not to hide anything.”
After his speech, Brown left briefly for the USG office. Vice President John Teresi followed Brown’s address with a speech of his own saying he did not agree with the president. Teresi encouraged senators to wait until Brown presents an alternative, research the matter and come up with better guidelines.
Teresi contradicted his normal meeting demeanor becoming noticeably more animated than past senate gatherings.
Several times during the meeting members noted the meeting risked running passed the Student Center’s closing time. The reason for the delay was a pre-meeting presentation by Chancellor Walter Wendler.
The chancellor brought student government designs for “Saluki Way,” a 10-year construction project to overhaul the east side of campus. Wendler originally planned to show senators a proposed tuition increase as well, but USG took the meeting as an opportunity to ask him more than an hour of questions.
Wendler agreed to return Nov. 2 to finish his presentation.
“That was a very good discussion,” Wendler said noticeably tired after working a 14-hour day. “They were very polite. When I was here a few years ago, they were very mean to me.”
Reporter Zack Quaintance can be reached at [email protected]