MUSG Senate’s SOA threshold raised

  • Marquette Student Government raised the threshold for Student Organization Allocations that the Senate must approve from $1,500 to $2,500.
  • The Senate also approved a recommendation that unused Dining Dollars be donated to the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee.
  • In addition, the Senate passed a recommendation that supports the creation of a Middle Eastern Studies minor.

The threshold for Marquette Student Government Senate funding approvals has increased.

The MUSG constitutional amendment was approved with a 21-3 vote and one abstention at the March 26 Senate meeting.

Previously, the full Senate considered funding requests above $1,500. Now, it will consider allocations above $2,500. The Student Organizations Allocation Committee, made up of both Senate members and other student representatives, will approve all other funding requests under $2,500.

The amendment was proposed because the original intent of the allocations process was for the Senate only to approve "extraordinarily large" funding requests, said Senator Logan Schott, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences.

However, the average allocation amount for student organizations in 2007 was $1,776, meaning the $1,500 benchmark for supposedly large funding requests was actually below the average amount allocated, Schott said.

Senator Billy Doerrer, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, voted against the amendment, saying that raising the threshold would limit Senate oversight of the SOA Committee.

"It's our job to hold them responsible," Doerrer said of SOA Committee members. "We're trying to fix something that isn't broken."

Senator Henry Thomas, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said the Senate has its oversight in the people it chooses to appoint to the SOA Committee. He said having to approve so many funding requests was taking time away from the Senate's other legislative duties.

In other MUSG news…

 The Senate passed a recommendation called "Dining Dollars are the Difference," which proposes that students' unused Dining Dollars at the end of a semester be donated to the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee.

The legislation, which passed with a 26-0 vote, was co-authored by student Sam Toman, a senior in the College of Communication.

The next step will be coordinating a plan among Sodexo, the university and Hunger Task Force, according to an MUSG press release.

Currently, unused Dining Dollars do not roll over to the next semester and are instead used to defray overhead costs for Sodexo.

"This would go a long way in affecting a lot of people in a positive way in the Milwaukee area," said Senator Adam Tandez, a junior in the College of Nursing.

 The Senate also passed a recommendation that a Middle Eastern Studies minor be offered by Marquette.

According to Senator Shazia Ali, the recommendation's sponsor, all the courses necessary for the minor already exist and just need to be put together.

Ali, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, described the recommendation as "very timely" with regard to the prominent role the Middle East plays in global politics. She said a Middle Eastern Studies major is a potential goal for the future.

 Finalized plans for the Wells Street median will be presented at this Thursday's MUSG Senate meeting at 7:30 p.m. Outgoing MUSG President Ray Redlingshafer, a senior in the College of Business Administration, will be joined by Ghassan Korban, the coordination manager from the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, and Alderman Bob Bauman. Korban is overseeing the median construction, which is expected to begin April 15.

 This Thursday's Senate meeting will be the first under the leadership of Henry Thomas and Stephanie Stopka, the newly elected MUSG president and executive vice president.

A new term will also begin for the academic senators who were elected or re-elected during last Wednesday's election.