Student senate passes student fees bill, funds Shiftspace through reserves


Nithin Nagapur

Student Senators at last week’s SGA meeting

The student senate met last night to vote on the student fees bill proposal, which includes a 2.7% fees increase.

Shiftspace gallery, a student-run art gallery down down, received a 65.8% funding cut in the proposal. After listening to dozens of speakers who spoke against the cut, the student senate voted to provide Shiftspace the remaining funding not approved in the proposal through SGA’s reserves for a year. 

During the discussion period, Senator Jay Thompson said that the decision to cut funding would push art students away. 

“It is not wrong to ask this group and others to find alternative sources of additional funding — In fact, that should be encouraged,” Thompson said. “But a cut of this kind, with this timing, guaranteed for three years, in a discipline that has been historically underfunded, should not happen.”

Kristin Beal, manager of Shiftspace, spoke again in public forum Wednesday and said while they are willing to find other sources of funding, they needed time to figure out what that would look like. 

“If this is the expectation moving forward that we diversify our funding, we need time to figure it out,” Beal said

Senator Kirk spoke in opposition, saying that over 100 students he spoke to were not against the gallery’s funding cut.

“If this is a department or organization that is requesting to ask for a large amount of money that, to our knowledge, only is being participated by a large amount of fine art students, this should not be funded through student fees,” Kirk said.

Senator Jacob Unruh spoke in favor, citing the passion he saw from those who spoke in public forum. He said that giving them their request this year gives them an “offramp” to shift that funding.

“Not every organization is going to have a huge impact on every single person, like Varsity Esports doesn’t really impact all of us on a personal level, but we are still giving them funding,” Unruh said.

Senator Omarian Brantley asked Treasurer Zachary James if SGA would be in a comfortable position with their reserves if they took money from it for Shiftspace.

“This one time deduction from the student fees reserve shouldn’t hurt the SGA’s reserve fund, but I would caution future senates in sessions to not rely on this fund,” James said.

There were 17 in favor and five against the motion to fund the gallery through reserves. All senators were in favor of passing the student fees bill.