Motion to allocate funding increase to The Sunflower denied by Student Government 


Mia Hennen

The Student Senate of the Student Government Association sits during a meeting on Aug. 31, 2022 (File photo).

The editor of The Sunflower suggested that Student Government and its student fees committee were self-serving after denying a small increase to the newspaper but giving larger increases to themselves, during Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting.

At the meeting, the Senate presented the first read of the Student Services Fees Act, which if passed next week will raise student fees by 2.9% next year. 

Jaycie Nelson, editor in chief of The Sunflower, spoke about funding allocations for The Sunflower. The Sunflower had requested $160,000 for their general budget for next year — a $15,000 increase from last year and about the same amount The Sunflower was consistently receiving 15 years ago. 

“I’m asking you to do your job and serve the students,” Nelson said. “Because if you pass the budget without corrections, it’s clear to me and every other student who (Student Government Association) really serves.”

After requesting a $15,000 increase to support students’ wages, the fees committee recommended The Sunflower only receive a $5,000 increase, 33% of the originally requested increase. 

“SEAL requested an increase of $100,000,” Nelson said. “They are getting $90,000 — 90% of their request. SGA requested an increase of $80,000. They are getting $45,000, 56% of their request.”

Nelson requested that the Senate send the bill back to the committee for changes to be made in order for The Sunflower to increase student employee salaries.

Currently, editors at the publication earn $10 an hour; the Board of Student Publications, made up of local professionals, faculty, and student representatives, voted to raise that pay to $12 an hour to keep up with the rising cost of living, tuition and other expenses.

The Board of Student Publications, granted authority by the president of the university, oversees the budget of student publications on campus.

When the bill was brought to the floor, senator Nathan Atkison proposed a change: to take 5 cents per student away from Student Engagement, Advocacy and Leadership (SEAL) and allocate it to The Sunflower.

Senator David Liu spoke in negation of that motion, saying the student fees committee had established a policy to set student salary at $10 an hour. In Student Government’s Rules and Regulations, it states that “entities, when hiring student assistants, using student fee funds, shall compensate those positions at a minimum hourly rate of $10.00 per hour, starting in Fiscal Year 2023.” The minimum is $10, not the flat rate.

Liu said that there is an exception in SGA where senators in the association can be paid up to $15 an hour. His reason for not supporting the proposal is that the publication board is not a part of the student fees process.

With 15 votes in favor, 17 against, and 4 abstentions, the motion to allocate money from SEAL to The Sunflower failed. The student fees bill will return to the Senate for a second read and vote on April 5.