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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 Senate addresses several bills regarding funding for student orgs, pay in SGA and more

Allison Campbell
Out of State Sen. Nathan Atkison expresses his support for the Senate Structure Reorganization Act during the Student Senate meeting on Wednesday, March 27. “My subcommittee currently has two people, including me,” Atkison said. “It does not work.”

Student Government Association (SGA) senators voted on and approved several bills Wednesday night, which modified the Student Senate structure, student organization funding and election processes. The approved motions will take effect with the start of the 67th session in August.

Student orgs required to host fundraising event, appropriations request limitations

On behalf of Sen. Devin Moore, Treasurer Jia Wen Wang presented the Improvements to the Appropriations Process Act. This bill required that all student organizations must complete at least one fundraising event per fiscal year. 

It also limited how much student organizations can request from appropriations based on tier levels. Tier 1 organizations, or clubs regularly holding general meetings, are limited to $3,000. 

Tier 2 organizations, which hold general meetings and host events open to students, can ask for up to $7,500. 

Tier 3 organizations can request up to $15,000, with exceptions that would allow them to ask for even more. The organizations must hold general meetings, host student events and attend conferences or competitions.

While there was much debate on whether club members should be allowed to donate to their own fundraising initiatives, no amendments to the bill were ultimately proposed and passed. 

The motion passed with 21 votes in affirmation.

Compensation Policy Proposal: Pay, weekly hours increase

Diana Grajeda, the leadership and engagement director, proposed a committee-amended bill that increased the pay of all Student Government Association (SGA) officials from $10 to $12 per hour as long as they remained active in their offices.

Additionally, the bill increased the required number of working hours for the president, vice president, treasurer and chief commissioner of the Association. The president’s hours increased from 30 to 35 per week, and the vice president’s hours increased from 25 to 30. During appropriations and student fees hearings, it was determined that the treasurer can be compensated for an additional five hours per week. 

The bill also established that the chief commissioner would be required to work 15 hours per week during election season after having no specific minimum or maximum working hours.

The bill passed with 20 votes in affirmation and one vote in negation.

Special elections thresholds

In response to the motions filed against SGA during the special election held in January, a new bill established a required voting threshold for special elections. 

Former SGA Sen. Vishnu Avva filed a formal appeal against the special election in January, where students voted to remove at-large senator seats and increase college-based seats. Avva claimed the passed act was unconstitutional because only 2.5% of the student body participated in the election, rather than 7%. Supreme Court members interpreted the Constitution to state that an amendment can pass with a simple majority of votes, rather than 7% of the student body. Avva’s appeal was dismissed, and the motion was passed and will be implemented in August.

The bill states that any constitutional amendment from a petition must receive a simple majority vote rather than a minimum number of outlined votes. Additionally, any constitutional amendment now requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, excluding vacant seats.

The bill was passed with 20 votes in affirmation.

Codifying cabinet

Four permanent roles “vital to executive functions” of the Senate were approved in the Codifying Cabinet Act. The chief of staff, the director of media relations, the director of legislative affairs and policy, and the director of wellness and sustainability positions were created to advise and assist the president.

The director positions for media relations and wellness and sustainability were also assigned role requirements and responsibilities.

With no senators speaking in debate of the bill, it passed with 19 affirmative votes.

Voting standards language

The voting standards language bill, proposed by Out of State Sen. Nathan Atkison, modified the language in the SGA constitutional bylaws about voting standards. It clarified that a quorum — the number of senators that must be present for Senate business to be discussed, voted upon and passed — should comprise at least 50% of sworn-in, installed, present and non-abstaining senators. 

The bill passed, with 22 Senate members voting in favor. 

Speaker election reform

After being “heavily amended” by the government oversight committee, the Speaker Election Reform bill passed with 21 votes in favor, one abstention, and one vote in negation.

The bill states that the speaker of the Senate can be elected by a simple majority of Senate votes. It also specified that senators can abstain from voting.

The bill also established a new structure for how a Senate speaker campaigns and is elected. 

Establishing the Finance Commission

The last bill voted on and approved for the night was a bill that merged the Finance and Student Fees commissions into one joint commission. Presented by Vice President Sophie Martins, the bill passed with 21 votes in affirmation.

Upcoming meeting

The Student Government Association will reconvene at 6:30 p.m. on April 3. Live streams of previous and current sessions can be viewed on the Student Government’s YouTube.

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About the Contributor
Allison Campbell, News Editor
Allison Campbell is one of the news editors for The Sunflower. Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

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