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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Student organization funding finalized during extended Senate meeting

Mia Hennen
Student organizations sit and listen to discussion during the Student Senate meeting on Aug. 30.

During a Student Government Association Senate meeting on Aug. 30, the Student Senate voted to approve the Registered Student Organizations Appropriations Act with changes.

The body rejected voting on the Act in its entirety. Instead, the Senate voted to go through the budget line-by-line and approve and adjust individual appropriations.

Because of this, 74 separate bills will be created in order to codify these new allocations.

Both Shocker Racing teams took large hits to their allocations as senators and chairpeople targeted both groups to reallocate funds to other organizations.

“The logic that I will be working with this evening with regards to the two racing organizations is the total amount that would be required (for the organizations) to compete,” Jay Thompson, government oversight chairperson, said.

The amount they need to compete includes registration and software fees, gas, hotel, car rentals and food. For Shocker Racing Baja SAE, their competition budget totals $13,795 and Shocker Racing Formula SAE’s budget for competition sits at $13,389.

Student organizations spoke in a special public forum that was targeted toward appropriations as a last effort to change their funding. Twenty students, both undergraduate and graduate, spoke of their financial situations, with a few clubs suggesting that the body approve or reject the bill.

The Sunflower has yet to receive the finalized budget from Wednesday night’s meeting.

Monday’s deliberations
Student Government Association’s Student Funding Committee came in with a difficult task – allocating $180,000 to 74 organizations that requested over $700,000 combined.

After a student filed a petition calling for a look at the language of the Student Government Association (SGA)’s bylaws, the Student Government Supreme Court ruled that the Finance Commission was illegitimate, and their initial deliberations on Aug. 4-6 that were approved by the Senate were voided.

Organizations were emailed on Monday to notify them that deliberations would be redone on Monday night. Organizations were given three minutes to present their case, which included a Q&A session from the board.

At the start of Monday night’s meeting, the committee had $165,000 to give to organizations. Toward the end of the meeting, Student Body Treasurer Jia Wen Wang said that she and Student Body President Iris Okere had previously agreed that $15,000 from SGA’s reserves would be added to the total appropriations money pool, bringing the available money to $180,000.

“We didn’t feel comfortable putting the $15,000 back into reserves,” Wang said. “Our goal is to support as many organizations as possible.”

The Student Funding Committee initially went through each organization in alphabetical order to redo allocations, going through each organization and adding or decreasing funds. After the committee had gone through each organization once, they began the second “free for all” round.

“You pick whatever organization that you want to take money from (in the second round) because at this point, we’re $26,660 over (budget),” Wang said.

The committee spent nearly an hour picking at the budget. With less than 30 minutes left in the meeting, the committee still had to cut approximately $1500.

All organizations whose allocation sat at $1000 or above were docked an additional $30 after Student Body Vice President Sophie Martins made a motion to stipulate this to “evenly cut from organizations.”

“This is not having to cut thousands of dollars from another organization because it was kind of like heartbreaking at this point,“ Martins said. ”I don’t want to touch organizations that are already struggling with the lower amount that we’re giving them.”

In the final minutes of the meeting, the committee was left with $185, which was split between two groups: $95 went to Engineering Without Borders and $90 went to Shocker Racing Formula SAE.

Three clubs received allocations above $10,000: SHPE: Leading Hispanics in STEM, Shocker Racing Baja SAE and Shocker Racing Formula SAE. Model UN was $30 off of this threshold.

At the end of the meeting, Model UN members threw thumbs down at the committee’s final decision.

Model UN was able to find $31,000 in outside funds last academic year but has said that that funding does not exist for this year. During deliberations, Wang said that Model UN has “great debating skills” and could find money elsewhere.

“Being able to actually raise $31,000 is very, very impressive,” Wang said during the second round of cuts. “So I feel comfortable with knowing that their past success plus their current shiny debating skills, that even with the cuts, the $10,000 would still be able to help fund them and support them for these conferences.”

Both Shocker Racing groups have said that they would have to “cannibalize” their cars from last year, which means that they have to take last year’s car apart for parts. Shocker Racing: Baja SAE president Ashley Colette said that this would be particularly difficult for their team due to rule changes.

During their presentation, Shocker Racing Formula SAE president Beau Rodriguez said that with more warning, the team could have found more funding from outside sources.

“It would give us time to find other funding, to be able to get grants, get the (mechanical engineering) department involved,” Rodriguez said. “For us to come up with $23,000 in about three months, that’s almost impossible.”

Five organizations received no money from the Student Funding Committee during both rounds of deliberations: Delta Gamma Fraternity, Interfraternity Council, Mortar Board, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Phi Alpha Honor Society.

Members of Phi Alpha Honor Society previously expressed that their organization cannot self-fundraise due to their “objectives.” The chapter handbook on Phi Alpha’s website has a section on chapter fundraising, saying that chapters do not have to fundraise “but may find it helpful in order to complete service activities or other chapter activities.”

Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council both have over $10,000 in their safekeeping account, which the commission cited as to why they were not given money.

Representatives from Turning Point USA at Wichita State and the Psychology Graduate Student Council were listed on the agenda for Monday’s meeting but did not show.

The full appropriations budget from Monday night can be viewed here.

This story has been updated from a previous version. Organizations were not notified until Monday morning that deliberations would be redone.

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About the Contributors
Trinity Ramm
Trinity Ramm, Managing Editor
Trinity Ramm is the managing editor and former sports editor for The Sunflower. This is her second year on staff. Ramm is a senior English Lit major and a sociology minor with a certificate in film studies. In her limited spare time, she can be found at the movie theater, browsing some obscure film database or crocheting. Ramm uses she/her pronouns.
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

Comments (2)

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  • J

    JoeSep 5, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Please become a respectable publication and run this through a qualified editor.
    Par. 1: capitalize registered
    Par. 5: Government Oversight Chair
    Par. 27: National Pan-Hellenic Council

  • N

    NoAug 31, 2023 at 8:37 am

    Student orgs were actually emailed after 10 am on Monday confirming the day and time of the hearing. No one was emailed Sunday night.