The Colorado Mesa University Associated Student Government saw its most contested bill of the quarter during their Oct. 18 general assembly meeting. The bill proposed the allocation of $1,837.90 from the student-controlled reserve fund to purchase a camera, tripod and slider for animation, motion and photography club. The amount requested of ASG was the entire cost of purchase; since the club is relatively new at CMU, they did not offer any of their own funds.
This bill passed through the Fee Allocation Committee on Monday, where it was cut once. The original bill included a locking cabinet for the equipment, but FAC offered a cabinet from Student Life.
The bill was presented by two members of the animation, motion and photography club and program, their president, Addie Mingilton, and their treasurer, Allen Dressed.
Most of the debate surrounding the bill concerned whether or not the club truly needed the equipment, or whether they could borrow it from the cage, a room located in Escalante Hall that provides camera and equipment lending. When the bill was proposed to FAC, Mingilton and Dressed were under the impression that they did not have access to the cage, as it is in the mass communications department.
After the FAC meeting on Monday, ASG Chief of Staff Bryce Reedy, also a mass communications major, spoke with Greg Mikolai, who runs the cage. According to Reedy, Mikolai said the cage will allow the animation, motion and photography students to borrow equipment for their club. This information was not available when FAC made their decision to pass the bill along to ASG, where further cuts could be debated.
Since the situation regarding the cage was not known until the ASG meeting, Senator Elise Leonard suggested tabling the bill until next week, so that Mingilton and Dressed would have more time to gather information on the situation and possibly re-write their proposal. Senator Jeff Vela feared this would waste the time of both senators and presenters. Mingilton was asked if she would re-write the proposal, to which she said no, and the senators agreed to vote on the bill during that meeting.
Senator Richard Nguyen, the languages, literature and mass communications representative, supported the bill as written. He reminded senators that mass communications and fine arts (under which this program and club are grouped) are different departments, and it may be difficult to mix them. Nguyen didn’t want the club to feel as though they didn’t have independence and their own identity.
“The students are never going to feel like they have their own equipment because they’re always going to have to go two buildings over to Escalante,” Nguyen said. Nguyen also reminded senators they may not understand the significance of the three requested items, as they are not in majors that use this equipment.
In addition to Nguyen, other senators, such as Christina Barefoot and Jay Shearrow, voiced support for the bill as well.
However, many senators were concerned that passing a bill that asked for the full cost from SCRF and would only affect 20 students, wasn’t fiscally responsible.
Senator Amber DuBois proposed an amendment to cut the slider from the bill after Chief of Staff Reedy explained that while cameras and tripods are often checked out of the cage, the slider has only been checked out once the entire year.
Senator Shelby Cerise supported DuBois’s proposal, arguing that many clubs and organizations already work together on campus, citing examples from her work with both ASG and the Cultural Diversity Board. Cerise also pointed out that with the removal of the slider, the bill would cost $51 per student from student fees, which is more reasonable than the almost $90 per student with the slider.
In addition to these two senators, Jeff Vela was the other strong proponent of cutting the bill, arguing that ASG has allocated more money in the first quarter of this year than all of last year. He called for a happy medium between the stinginess of the body last year, and its seeming willingness to fund every request of this year.
Many senators suggested that the club do some fundraising before approaching ASG and asking for the entire cost.
When DuBois called for a straw poll vote, the senators appeared split 50/50 on the issue. After further discussion, a vote for the amendment was called by roll call. The amendment passed 14-8.
After the amendment, the bill passed, allocating $1,197.95 from SCRF to the club.
ASG passed one other bill to allocate $200 from their operating budget to host a barbecue dinner for students from a Colorado High Schools’ Activities Association convention in Grand Junction. While the conference does not take place at the school, President Ben Linzey believed that hosting the dinner would showcase CMU to some of the most active and involved high school students in the state.
The bill passed unanimously without discussion and with five abstentions.
ASG also filled two of their vacant senatorial positions.
Amara Hobbs, a junior social work major, was considered for the position of social and behavioral sciences senator. After personal recommendations from Senator Cerise and Senator Van Gundy, both of whom have worked with Hobbs in extra-curricular activities, Hobbs was approved.
Shadd Carter, a pre-nursing major and resident assistant, was the second candidate of the night to fill the position of physical, environmental and biological sciences senator. Carter also received personal recommendations from senators who knew him as an RA, such as Senator Vela. Carter was also approved.