Ball State SGA announces budget, bylaws amendments

<p>Senators review the 2020-21 budget proposed by SGA treasurer Amanda Mustaklem at the Oct. 7, 2020 Zoom meeting. SGA will vote on the proposed budget at the Oct. 14 meeting, which will offer an in-person attendance option for senators in the Student Center. <strong>Maya Wilkins, Screenshot Capture</strong></p>

Senators review the 2020-21 budget proposed by SGA treasurer Amanda Mustaklem at the Oct. 7, 2020 Zoom meeting. SGA will vote on the proposed budget at the Oct. 14 meeting, which will offer an in-person attendance option for senators in the Student Center. Maya Wilkins, Screenshot Capture

At the Oct. 7 Zoom meeting, the Ball State Student Government Association (SGA) presented its budget for the remainder of the school year and amendments to the organization’s bylaws.

The budget, presented by treasurer Amanda Mustaklem, predicts SGA using $79,007.28 to pay for various events and causes throughout the year, with $18,264.23 carrying over from the 2019-20 school year to help pay for these expenses.

“It’s good to see that we have $18,000 in leftover money, basically,” Mustaklem said, “We’ve barely had enough money to give to other slates and this is really good for next year as well.”

Because the Elevate slate wasn’t able to use all of their funds in spring 2020 due to COVID-19, Mustaklem said in an earlier senate meeting that Bold received their unused funds.

Mustaklem proposed to allocate $2,000 from the budget toward a spring break initiative, announcing that SGA will help plan an activity during the week of March 6, the originally scheduled spring break, to ease student burnout in the middle of the spring semester.

SGA president Connor Sanburn said he is meeting with Ball State Vice President for Student Affairs Ro-Anne Royer Engle on Oct. 8 to discuss what SGA can do to prevent student burnout.

Mustaklem and Sanburn said the entire $2,000 may not be used for the spring break initiative, and if so, what is left over will be directed to other areas of the budget. SGA is still anticipating Homecoming in the spring, and set aside $750 for events.

In addition to discussing the budget, vice president Jordyn Blythe presented senators with a series of amendments to the bylaws. The bylaws amendments, which slate members called “the omnibus,” were authored by parliamentarian Chase Braden, archivist Marcus Jennings and President Pro Tempore Dylan Lewandowski.

“One of the big reasons why the archivist, the parliamentarian and I came together to discuss this was because, after being former senators for multiple years and now being executive board members, we realize that it’s very confusing to look at the bylaws in their current state...and fully understand it,” Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski also said that the changes to the bylaws were more “clerical” and about “reformatting and organizing the existing verbiage,” to move some of the information to different sections of the bylaws where it fit better and made more sense.

Braden said that the process for coming up with “the omnibus” took place over 12 to 13 individual meetings among the three authors since May 2020.

“This is something that we did not take lightly and that we put a huge amount of work and time into,” Braden said.

Although the majority of the changes were clerical, Braden, Jennings and Lewandowski included SGA plans to eliminate five cabinet positions — the deputy chief of staff, secretary of social justice, secretary of governmental affairs, secretary of student safety and the secretary of student services. These cabinet positions had been vacant for years prior to the preparation of “the omnibus.”

The decision to cut these positions was also made in consultation with Sanburn.

“We wanted to make sure that every cabinet position that we have has a real purpose, and that it makes sense in how they assist the executive branch in the work that they do, as well as serving as a resource for senators,” Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski also said the positions were cut to prevent overlap of duties and responsibilities with other cabinet positions.

The senators and executive board will discuss “the omnibus” at the Oct. 14 meeting.

In addition to the budget and bylaws amendments, the senate voted on Trent McKenzie’s proposed amendment to include in-person voting and debate policies in SGA’s standing rules. The amendment passed 41-0, with one abstention.

The senate also voted on James Wells’ proposed amendment to require all SGA legislation to adhere to state statutes, local laws and federal laws. The amendment passed 39-2.

Finally, the senate also voted on Wells’ amendment strengthening the Student Judicial Court, requiring students to be nominated by the president and approved by a two-thirds majority of the senate. The amendment passed 39-0, with three abstentions.

SGA plans to have an optional in-person senate meeting Wednesday, Oct. 14, with an alternative Zoom meeting for senators who do not attend in person.

Contact Maya Wilkins with comments at mrwilkins@bsu.edu or on Twitter @mayawilkinss.

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