Greek life funding debate heats up at senate meeting

The tense stand off between Fraternity and Sorority Life and Student Government continued last night, with two senators attempting to bring a motion for one time funding to offset the cut in the budget from FSL by the senate. 

During the budget hearing this year, the Student Government decided to cut the FSL budget from $15,000 to $10,000, citing a decrease in enrollment, as well as a yearly leadership convention that was deemed by the Student Allocations Committee (SAC) as nonessential. 

In protest to their decision, FSL showed up in droves at a meeting on April 6, accusing the Student Government of bigotry against their organizations. Presidents Tim Tuchek and Lauren Wojack of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council argued that statements made during the budget hearing were untrue. 

During open forum at last night’s meeting, Senators Abi Saha and Zahara Osman stood with eight members of various fraternities and sororities standing behind them to propose a surprise resolution to the senate. 

The resolution as written would provide one time funding to FSL, adding the $5,000 that was cut from their request. 

Senator Osman, who was the chair of SAC, co-motioned and co-seconded the resolution with Senator Saha. 

“We definitely heard, we definitely did hear what FSL had brought to us,” said Saha, referring to complaints from FSL, “me as a senator, took this opportunity as a public platform to address some of the issues that happened.”

The senator then proceeded to read the motion to the senate, which called for the reverse of a previous decision made by the Student Government, adding a $5,000 one time payment to FSL’s budget. Osman, though initially voting for the budget cut, spoke to the senate, stating why she changed her mind on the funding for Greek life. 

“At the budget meeting, there were  a lot of things that happened, a lot of things were exchanged,” said Osman, “It is not fair that some departments got way more than they requested, though we still overlooked the FSL.”

Speaker Minahil Khan did not accept the resolution as an item to vote on, stating procedures that resolutions need to go through before being brought to the senate. 

“A resolution cannot be brought forward like this,” Khan said, urging this to be brought to next year’s Student Government, “none of the senators here have heard about this, and they did not have a chance to talk about this.”

The Student Government advisor, Emi Menk, then went on to inform the senators that, as written, the resolution does not follow the Minnesota State System policy. 

“Even if this was brought in, voted, and approved, it would be dead in the water,” said Menk to the senate, “this is part of why we ask senators to bring this forward ahead of time.”

President Reauna Stiff then stepped in, stating that Saha and Osman were both aware of the proper procedure.

“It seemed that they were not willing to listen to the advisor as to the correct path forward,” said Stiff, “We as Student Government, don’t have the purview to give you a one time allocation, it has to go through SAC again.”

Stiff claimed that this perspective should have been brought forward much sooner, specifically from Saha and Osman. 

“You were on SAC, you got to decide some of these things, you recommended these things,” said Stiff to the two senators. 

Saha and Osman and the executive team continued to toss back and forth heated interruptions and disagreements on the procedure for bringing forward resolutions.

Khan, as speaker, asserted that the two senators needed to bring the resolution to committee prior to it being brought to the senate table. 

The meeting continued to get personal, with accusations being thrown back and forth referring to attendance at meetings, as well as statements made in previous meetings. 

CSU Director Mark Constantine stepped in more than once attempting to keep the peace. 

“A discussion is a great thing to have, personal attacks are not the right thing to be doing right now,” said Constantine. 

The boiling point of the meeting came with Saha and Osman intentionally going out of order and Khan forcing them to take a seat, threatening them with removal from the chamber. The president and vice-president removed themselves from the chamber at that time. 

Khan proceeded to apologize to the members of FSL, restating her reasons for the lack of procedure following.  

Wojack, representing the Panhellenic Council, expressed to the senate that she would be interested in following the correct procedure with the next senate. 

“I will be back, and I am willing to have these conversations,” said Wojack, who was hopeful for change to come from the next senate. 

In an effort to alleviate some of the tension of the meeting during her report, Khan tried to bring back peace to the senate.

“Let’s just have a Hallmark happy ending,” said Khan, attempting to flip the mood of the room, “because I really need that.”

Header Photo: Senator Abi Saha takes to the podium, standing in front of several members of Greek Life to present a resolution that, if passed, would give the community a one time payment in order to offset recent budget cuts. (Maxwell Mayleben/The Reporter)

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

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