MUSG maintains current off-campus program funding

Marquette Student Government voted Thursday not to reduce funding for off-campus events, defeating an amendment that would have decreased the amount allocated in the Student Organization Funding process from 33 percent to 30 percent of all funds.

The amendment, authored by Executive Vice President and SOF Committee Chair Trent Carlson, was justified by results from 2007 and 2011 surveys, in which 95 percent of students said they would like to see their student activity fee spent on campus, and would still leave off-campus funding higher than it had been in years prior.

“Historically, it’s been 25 percent, so it’s higher than a few years ago,” said Carlson, a senior in the College of Business Administration. He said the goal is not to decrease all of student funding, just the amount available for off-campus events.

Senator Bill Neidhardt, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, spoke in favor of the decrease, saying the student survey revealed students wanted more money to be spent on campus.

“It’s student money – let them decide where it goes,” Neidhardt said. “I trust the student organization funding committee and the executive vice president.”

But several members of MUSG spoke against the change, including off-campus Senator Craig Maechtle, a senior in the College of Business Administration. Maechtle said he has had positive experiences attending off-campus conferences.

“I brought back knowledge for my organization and outside of it,” Maechtle said. “It’s wrong to say that knowledge doesn’t come back to campus. I won’t deprive students of that experience.”

After an hour of debate, the amendment did not pass after a vote of 12-12, with three senators abstaining. Amendments require a two-thirds vote of the sitting Senate to pass.

There was also a recommendation to reallocate funds left over from the Diversity Commission and use them for an After Dark and Late Night Marquette collaboration to bring Danny Pudi to campus.

The Diversity Commission, which made extensive use of the DiversiTEA series, had $3,000 in extra funding. Program Vice President Derek Merten said the group’s events for the rest of the semester had already been planned, including two more DiversiTEAs.

Financial Vice President Brittany Riesenbeck, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said if the money is not reallocated, then it goes back into the reserve fund and no one can use it.

Merten said while MUSG could put on an event to use the surplus, given the time it takes to plan an event, it would have to be thrown together at the last minute.

Merten said if the money was not reallocated, MUSG would have to choose between charging students or not having an event at all.

The recommendation passed in a 24-3 vote.

The meeting also saw a presentation from Residence Hall Association President Ann Shay. Shay gave MUSG a synopsis of the work RHA has done so far this year.

Shay said RHA met with Associate Vice President for Student Affairs James McMahon to discuss the housing problem and the long- and short-term goals of Residence Life.

RHA has also added an additional diversity initiative, “BEAD” (Becoming Educated About Diversity), which was started this year. The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness about different issues and cultures, Shay said.

Shay also said RHA has added to its Remove the Blindfold series, including an Open Mic Night called “Justice and Java” where there were social justice-themed performances. She said RHA has been getting positive feedback from members of the different hall councils on the Anytime meal plans.

“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive response,” Shay said. “People are happy with it.”

Marquette’s RHA has been chosen as the host of the National Residence Hall Honorary from March 10 to 12 where it will host more than 60 colleges and universities from the Great Lakes region to discuss issues regarding the National Residence Hall Association.