April 14, 2020
The Student Government Association (SGA) senate met virtually to approve a $20,000 senate bill Thursday, April 9. They also heard budget request presentations from Aisha Ahmed-Post, director of the Ent Center for the Arts, and Ray Fisco, prevention and outreach manager with Clyde’s Cupboard.
Carlos Garcia, interim vice chancellor of student success addressed the senate to voice his support and answer questions from senators regarding the state of affairs and response to pandemic-related closures.
He also expressed gratitude for the senate’s attention to their roles at this time. “Congratulations for being able to go virtual so quickly on your meetings. I think it’s very important that you are still conducting business for student government,” Garcia said. Aisha Ahmad-Post presented a budget proposal presentation for the Ent Center for the Arts for the next fiscal year. The presentation included two requests.
The first was a $10,000 request to assist in continuing the Arts Pass, which allows UCCS students to attend Artist Series events for $5 with a valid student ID. Tickets to these events usually cost between $24 and $65 without the discount.
The second request was for $5,000 to fund a paid student hourly assistant position. The position provides arts administration experience to one student during the school year.
“When we are finally able to get together again, it will be so important to make sure that students still have access to these opportunities and that the Ent Center can continue to thrive,” Ahmed-Post said. “It’s one of the most visible facets of campus both internally and externally.”
Ray Fisco outlined the $10,416 budget request from Clyde’s Cupboard. The money would fund two hourly student positions for 40 weeks. The two student employees complete work such as promotion, inventory and event management.
He also detailed recent activity during the pandemic and resulting closures, as well as updates they intend to make to Clyde’s Cupboard in the future. This included implementing food drives in the community, increasing Fresh Food Fridays to two times a month and involving alumni in their work.
Both requests from the Ent Center and Clyde’s Cupboard will be taken into account as SGA begins to formulate a budget for the next fiscal year, which includes the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.
Senate bill SB-35, titled “Student Relief Allocation,” was authored and presented to the senate by Student Body President JayJay Porcadilla.
The goal of the bill is to support students impacted by COVID-19 by making a total contribution of $20,000 to be split between three initiatives: the UCCS Fund for Excellence, the UCCS Community Support Scholarship Fund and the Class of May 2020 gift.
Some logistics regarding how scholarship funds are allocated to students were still unclear at the time the bill was presented. “We just wanted to get this spearheaded right away and then we’ll be able to see more logistics and behind the scenes once it’s done,” Porcadilla said.
Senators expressed concern with lacking information. “We don’t have a lot of information right now so do you worry about the fact that this is a really large sum of money and it’s the very end of what we have?” asked Senator of Public Affairs Rachel Cauwels. “Writing this bill and passing it without having all of the logistics out for $20,000 is pretty risky.”
Senator-at-Large Brandon Goldstein agreed. “I think this would be a great idea to help students if we knew more about what we’re signing up for,” he said. “I’m personally hesitant to allocate this sum of money.”
Despite some concern, other senators pointed out that the circumstances of the bill are different than standing funding for clubs and organizations.
“We are currently holding on to how we handle every other senate meeting, which is good, but with COVID-19 this is a brand new situation none of us were prepared for,” Senator of Innovation Stephanie Moyer said. “With that being said, it’s okay to step outside that box.”
The $20,000 student relief allocation funding was passed 8-3. The three dissenting votes were cast by Goldstein, Cauwels, and Senator-at-Large Maria Bynes.