After intense debate and a nearly split vote, the Student Government Association’s plans for a UCCS haunted house crumbled due to an executive veto.
At the Oct. 13 SGA Senate meeting, senators brought forth a bill to fund and organize a haunted house event at UCCS, which had been in the works since early September. Criticisms from senators over lack of a detailed budget and poor planning threatened the bill, leading to it narrowly passing the senate. However, after the vote Student Body President Axel Brown stepped to the podium and vetoed the bill.
“The bill is vetoed, because when spending that amount of money from the student activity fee, a more in-depth spending plan should be available to the student,” Brown wrote via email.
Speaker of the Senate Keenan Powell spoke for the bill, asking senators to expend $10,000 for the project, noting that they would likely not need the full amount but would like it just in case. But a few senators worried that the bill was asking for too much money without enough detail on how the money would be spent.
Senator of Military Affairs Ashley Hoff believed the haunted house would be a good way to involve students but raised concerns about the bill’s lack of detail. “I am hoping that there is something in place to ensure we are using student funds appropriately,” Hoff said.
Senator of Engineering Kaylee Stone, who worked on the bill, tried to address these concerns. “I have a connection that gets us a discount for all of our decorations that we buy, we just didn’t want to give you guys a detailed budget breakdown of everything we don’t even have yet. But we don’t plan on going over … even $6,000 was a bit of a stretch,” Stone said. But that just sparked more disagreement.
Senator at Large Brooke Anderson was originally in favor of the bill but spoke against it at the meeting, citing a lack of communication and poor planning. “This is extremely short notice,” she said. “We are two weeks away and we don’t even have any of the stuff yet.”
Justices Zachary Terradez and Anthony Langdon worked on the haunted house committee, though they cannot vote in the senate. Terradez agreed with Anderson’s concerns, while Langdon argued in favor of the bill.
“You want $10,000 when you’re saying $5000, $6000 is more than reasonable … I don’t think it’s a good precedent to set within SGA of presenting bills without properly defining it,” Terradez said. “We just had a veteran association bill approved, and they were more planned than this. And they were asking for 10 times less. So, what’s the excuse?”
“This has been in the works for like two months,” Langdon said. “[Powell] and I have known about it for two months, there’s been a lot of work put in before it and there’s a lot of layers to make sure it doesn’t fall down if one thing comes out of the works — it’s been very structured … just because a bill comes out a certain type of way doesn’t mean work hasn’t been put into it.”
Powell admitted that the bill was not “as timely as we had hoped” but affirmed that any additional funds not used for the haunted house would go back to the Carryforward fund, an SGA fund that rolls over each year and can be used for activities and initiatives. But no one was moved on the matter.
The bill barely passed with an 8-6 vote out of the 18 members present at the meeting before it was vetoed.
Photo caption: The SGA Senate discussed the haunted house bill at a meeting on Oct. 13. Photo by Lillian Davis.