Franciscan University Student Government met during the past two weeks to decide club budgets for the 2015 fall semester, organize the Student Government election and elect new officers for next year.
Each and every club’s fund requests first had to be examined and amended as appropriate by the finance committee. Initially, 12 clubs requested $44,462.44 in total for the fall budget. After the committee meeting, it was cut down to $26,604.10.
On April 13, Franciscan University Student Government as a whole convened for the first time in a 3-hour budget meeting to further discuss the budget. During the meeting, senators asked the club representatives to justify the fund requests. A majority of the clubs was satisfied with minor cuts in their budget requests; however, some of the other clubs received a significant reduction in their requests.
Debates concerning fund cuts were split between senators who proposed to give the necessary funds to serve the greatest number of clubs and those who wanted to appropriate club funds according to how much each club benefits the university.
In particular, the newly reactivated Equestrian Club was the center of the discussion. With two current members, it requested $6,150.00 with the plan being to cover the expenses of a potential six members. The finance committee cut the budget request by a third to $2,000.00, but the Student Government thought it was still too much for a club that serves only a few students.
Other clubs also faced big cuts in their budgets. The Gadfly’s budget was cut by half from $2,379.34 to $1,170.00. The Outdoors Club was denied most of its fund for the lack of specific information on fall events. Its original request of $4,005.00 was cut to $63.00. The $9,475.00 budget for Students for Life was reduced to $3,362.00.
On April 15, the Student Government formally met to vote on each club budget for the fall semester. The Equestrian Club was awarded only $1,300; however, a presidential veto from Brian Kirby also took away those funds. The club was encouraged to come back with a bill in the fall. The Outdoors Club was able to provide enough information to justify $2,473.00 for fall activities. In the end, the whole budget totaled $27,989.10. It is the lowest budget in the past three years.
Stipends for Student Government officers remained unchanged for the next semester. Officers that would receive stipends are president ($1,000), vice president ($900), treasurer ($850), secretary ($800), internal auditor ($500), executive assistant ($350), PR liaison ($200), Austrian ambassador ($200) and Austrian consul ($100).
Students for Life officers’ stipends, which previously have been a big concern, were passed without too many issues with $500 for the president and $400 for the vice president.
An election for next semester’s Student Government officer positions was held April 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the J.C. Williams Center.
Ben Stroka and Christian Ferris won the presidential election by claiming 56 percent of the vote. Stephen Hostutler and Joseph Francis received 19 percent of the vote. Stephen Shaw and Mike Hass took 14 percent. Mary Grace Bergen and Maura Bobakk had 11 percent of the vote.
Candidates Drew Pultorak and Joseph Dantona were disqualified from the race under IV.B.5.2 of the Franciscan University Student Government bylaws for “gross and willful infractions” of the election code. Some of the students were infuriated by the case, but Student Government later released an official statement specifying the violation.
Stroka and Ferris, along with newly elected senators, will be sworn in April 29 during the last Student Government formal meeting, and they will assume office next semester.