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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 government passes bill to allocate extra $33,000 to student orgs

Mia Hennen
Flanked by members of student organizations, Student Body President Iris Okere and Student Body Treasurer Jia Wen Wang speak to senators at the Sept. 12 meeting about an emergency funding act.

The Student Government Association and Student Body President Iris Okere called an emergency Student Senate meeting on Sept. 12 to discuss the Authorize Funding for Appropriations Relief Act that would provide $33,000 to some Registered Student Organizations.

Gabriel Fonseca, who helps advise student government, said that this money will come from the student fees contingency fund. Unspent money is typically used to replenish this fund, which is kept around $1 million. In recent years, that money came from unused department funds and COVID-19 relief funds.

As the body moved into discussing the bill, Student Body Treasurer Jia Wen Wang said the bill had support from both Okere and Student Body Vice President Sophie Martins, several organizations and the Student Funding Committee.

“I would like to remind everyone that the Finance Commission (the Student Funding Committee) has spent over 40 hours in deliberations and discussions throughout the entire appropriations process, meaning their support of this bill means something significant,” Wang said. 

Wang said that she held an informal vote with the Student Funding Committee last week, and they unanimously agreed to support the bill. All members, except for Marcha Glenn, who missed the meeting due to illness, are listed as co-sponsors on the bill itself. 

When asked by Andrew Bobbitt, at-large senator, whether or not members of the Student Funding Committee were allowed to look over specific allocations, Wang said that they were not, citing that it was an unofficial vote as the reasoning.

“I did explain where the $33,000 came from, why it was allocated and how this would impact these organizations,” Wang said. “They also had freedom to ask me questions on the bill, and I answered them as best as I could at the time.”

In debate, Bobbitt was in favor of the bill but thought it needed revision before being passed.

“It’s important that we put this bill into context,” Bobbitt said. “It is not the generosity of student government that has made this bill. It is a requirement and the need of the students that is why we are providing this fund.”

Bobbitt asked to divide the question after the vote on the bill was called for.

Dividing the question would create an identical situation to the previous Senate meeting, where the bill would be fractured into line items for senators to approve and potentially reallocated individual amounts to organizations.

After some brief confusion over Robert’s Rules of Order, which are the code for how formal debate and government should run in the U.S., Bobbitt’s motion stood and senators voted against dividing the question via roll call vote with seven yes, 14 no and one abstention.

The body moved straight into voting on the bill, which narrowly passed via roll call vote with 15 yes, two no and five abstentions.

Hannah Holliday speaks to the Student Senate on Sept. 12. (Mia Hennen)

Two organization presidents came to speak in the public forum during the emergency meeting: Hannah Holliday, president of Sigma Tau Delta and poetry editor for Mikrokosmos, and Kelly Rowlett, president of the Criminal Justice Student Association.

Holliday’s speech encouraged senators to fund the fine arts and humanities, as they are often the first organizations to receive budget cuts, and emphasized that Sigma Tau Delta serves all students, not just those in the English department.

“What happened is indicative of a larger problem,” Holliday said. “Smaller, mostly humanities-based organizations had their funding massively cut while other groups received disproportionately large amounts of the funding.”

She recommended that there be a maximum amount that an organization can receive from the SGA and that the amount should reflect their impact and reach on campus.

The Student Senate will reconvene on Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sante Fe Room of the RSC.

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About the Contributors
Trinity Ramm
Trinity Ramm, Former managing editor
Trinity Ramm was the managing editor in 2023-2024 and former sports editor in 2022-2023 for The Sunflower.  Ramm graduated with a major in English, a minor in sociology, and 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, Copy Editor
Mia Hennen is the copy editor for The Sunflower. Most recently, Hennen served as editor-in-chief for the 2023-2024 year. A senior English major, Hennen will graduate in May 2025 and hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

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