Daily Egyptian

USG discusses solutions to budget cuts, anti-transgender messages, attendance policy

By Olivia Spiers

Undergraduate Student Government president Jared Stern presented the executive board’s ideas to combat the university’s budget cuts at the senate’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Stern said the only realistic way of increasing the governmental body’s budget is to boost the university’s enrollment, thereby increasing the amount of student fees.

Stern said raising student fees would not expand USG’s coffers, unless the fees were increased substantially.  He also said raising the student fees would drive potential students away, which would be an overall blow for the university.

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“The cuts have been impounded by decreasing enrollment at SIU,” Stern said. “And if you’re happy here, you’re more likely to stay.”

He also encouraged USG senators to support lobbying efforts in Springfield to “showcase” SIU.

“We have about 220 majors offered here, and the bigger Illinois universities have around 260,” Stern said. “There’s no reason why we should be given less money than them.”

Stern said encouraging students to take summer classes will help the university pay back the money borrowed this year and hopefully decrease the $30 million cuts for the next fiscal year.

Senators also expressed concern about the $400,000 cut to Morris Library’s budget. Johnathan Flowers, Graduate and Professional Student Council Vice President for Student Affairs, said the administration made large cuts because the library’s operating hours and supplies can be restored within a semester, unlike vacant positions.

“It’s a big hit, but it was the least they could do to the library,” Flowers said.

Stern also said the university could save money through small expenses. For example, he said the administration could require employees to be paid through direct deposit instead of mailing paychecks to employees, which costs $7 for each envelope.

“We aren’t going back to a 25,000 student body, so we need to save everywhere we can,” Stern said.

Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell will be at the next USG meeting on April 18 to discuss the budget cuts in depth with the senators.

USG financial report

Executive assistant Jami Hagemann presented the senate’s financial report in the Tuesday meeting.

USG’s budget in September 2016 was $244,000, which is $30,000 less than the year before.

The senate has reviewed over 200 bills, and spent over $93,000 as of March 21. USG has about $10,000 left to allocate at the final meeting on April 18.

Hagemann also said no students have requested funding for events for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, which she said is expected to bring 200,000 people to Carbondale. The deadline to request funding from USG is Thursday.

Senator Elizabeth Lewis also said the internal affairs committee will delegate a $6,000 yearly maximum next year to all registered student organizations to prevent overspending.

Anti-transgender messages

Senators Cecilia Miranda and Daniel Nuñez requested the senate address the student body about anti-transgender chalk that was apparently found at Lentz dining hall over the weekend.

The chalk was removed after interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Stettler sent students to wash it off the sidewalk, Flowers said.

“Acts like this make everyone uncomfortable here,” Miranda said.

Stern said the executive board will publish a statement written by Saluki Rainbow Network within a few days.

Attendance policy

The senate discussed the possibility of requesting the administration form a university-wide attendance policy for students.

Senator Brandon Kyles said the university currently has no attendance requirement, which “lowers the bar at our university.”

“We’re essentially asking them to do their job and make a policy,” Kyles said.

GPA requirement

The senate voted to lower the GPA for USG candidates to 2.5.

Senator Nick Shereos presented the bill and said the lower requirement would create a larger pool of candidates and ultimately allow more SIU students to be represented in the senate.

“It’s always good to get more senators,” Shereos said. “We always need more student representation in the school.”

Correction: Johnathan Flowers is the Graduate and Professional Student Council Vice President for Student Affairs, not the president. We apologize for the error.

Staff writer Olivia Spiers can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_spierso.

To stay up to date with all your SIU news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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