Student Government addresses troublesome budget meeting

Last night’s Student Government meeting achieved the passing of four different fees paid for by students, but the meeting was defined by what was said in the officer reports. 

The meeting last week, which decided the budget for the Student Activity Fee, lasted over 10 hours, and was hampered by confusion and disagreements from members of the senate and the executive team. 

Following the chaotic budget meeting last week, President Reauna Stiff, Vice President Kara Svercl and Speaker Minahil Khan addressed the senate, expressing their disappointment in the behavior that some senators exhibited. 

“I cannot even fathom how disappointed I am in some of the people in this room,” said Stiff during her report to the senate. 

During the executive team’s individual officer reports, they each took time to speak about how they felt that last week went. 

“I’m afraid our kindness has been taken advantage of,” said Stiff to the senate. “While we have constantly preached holistic support and grace for others, this year, there wasn’t much of that when it comes to us.”

Stiff went on to speak about the amount of time that she, Svercl, and Khan had put in preparing for the budget meeting, and expressed worry that senators did not do the same. 

“We did our due diligence, as most of us were advised to do,” said Stiff. 

Stiff went on to state her disappointment in the senate’s conduct during the budget meeting. 

“It was disrespectful to this body, to our guests, and especially executive leadership,” said Stiff. 

“Multiple times this year, we have been interrupted, talked over, we have had our comments disregarded,” Stiff said, referring to previous senate meetings. 

Svercl went on to speak on the different knowledge that is held by senators and the executive team. 

“You as senators know different than us,” said Svercl, “however, that does not mean you know more than us.”

Svercl also referenced the amount of meetings that the executive team have been a part of, noting that many of the senators did not have the same background information. 

“There are some people in this room who do not have that context, but they may have more clout,” said Svercl, “and sometimes, I think we forget who we have elected as our executive team, and who we have elected as senators.”

Khan, the speaker of the senate, was at the forefront of last week’s meeting, was not thrilled with the level of respect that was given from senators. 

“You are not just making yourself look bad, you are also making the position and senate look bad,” said Khan to the senators. 

Senator Douglas Roberts, who was a part of the Student Allocations Committee and a member of the senate, asking for respect from both sides.

“It is a mutual problem,” said Roberts, “it is a universal problem where we all need to learn to respect one another better.”

Senator Zahara Osman was looking for more of a discussion about the budget meeting, but was upset that the executive team didn’t allow for rebuttal from the senate. 

“We all had stuff to say about what they said,” said Osman, “I just think they should have let us have a discussion on it.”

After the officer reports, the senate went on to approve of the budgets for the Student Health Services Fee, the Student Union Fee, the Student Technology Fee, the dome fee and the Campus Outdoor Recreation Facility Fee.

Write to Maxwell Mayleben at Maxwell.Mayleben@mnsu.edu

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