Members of the Business and Finance Committee voted on Resolution 106-10 during the meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Previously, senators passed Resolution 106-09. This was to match student donations to the Student Emergency Fund. This new resolution is also a matching fundraiser but on a larger scale. The resolution states that Student Government will match up to $15,000 raised over the first 30 days of the public crowdfunding campaign for the Student Emergency Fund.
The purpose of the Student Emergency Fund is to provide limited, emergency financial assistance to current EMU students to offset short-term financial need due to “temporary hardship related to an emergency, accident or other critical incident that will impact their ability to fully participate in their academic career at EMU.” The funds are awarded as a grant and are not intended to replace financial aid. Students are required to turn in an application to the Office Student Affairs that a committee will then review to “determine eligibility.”
Without objection from the committee members, Student Body President Ethan Smith explained the resolution further.
“Essentially we voted on the resolution in the last big senate meeting [on Tuesday, Nov. 5] for the small matches for the student donations, and that was really about engagement,” Smith said. “This one I think is really an opportunity to get some serious cash into the Student Emergency Fund.
I really think that this is a good use of Student Government money. I think it is within the level of funding that we have, and I think it mostly fits within this year’s budget in a very realistic way, and it’s a way to get the most bang for our buck.”
The Student Emergency Fund currently has a balance of $46,800.
Smith stresses the importance of this fund directly helping students at EMU.
“We do a lot of good stuff in Student Government, but in my opinion, there’s not a whole lot more that we can do than make money available to go right into the hands of somebody that really needs it,” Smith said.
Senator Nick Galluzzo asked about the order of the line items.
“If I understand this correctly, the president’s discretionary will be the line item of first resort when it comes to man-handling the funds raised,” Galluzzo said. “What is the mentality behind that decision?”
“Basically, I just wanted to say, ‘Hey, I’m not trying to spend everybody else’s money,’” Smith said. “I believe in this really strongly, and I have no problem [spending] – obviously it’s not my money, it’s the university’s money. I thought that it would be the best use of our money, and therefore, it’d be the best use of the money that I have direct control over.”
Director of Business and Finance Mohammad Aggour voiced his support for this resolution, but he motioned to add an amendment. The amendment being to switch the order in which the matching fund would be drawn from. Originally, the first line item was the president’s discretionary of $3,100, followed by Student Government services with $6,000. Aggour wants to switch these around so that the $6,000 from Student Government services will be used first when matching.
“As I spoke to President Smith and you guys [senators] in the pre-meeting, I totally support this resolution,” Aggour said. “I think matching $15,000 raised over 30 days will be beneficial to the Student Emergency Endowment Fund. However, based from my best judgement, I believe that an amendment to move the first bucket, being the president discretionary, switch it to Student Government services.”
Galluzzo was the only senator to vote against this amendment. He said he voted against the amendment because he respects Smith’s original plan to use money firstly from his own discretionary.
“The biggest reason I voted, I totally understand and respect where Director Aggour is coming from,” Galluzzo said. “I am just personally inclined to agree with and give deference to the president’s own discretion. If this is something that he is willing to do with his discretionary account, I am inclined to give deference to that.”
Aggour said he hopes they raise enough so that the order doesn’t actually matter, but just in case he would rather have less money be taken from the president’s discretionary so the balance for that remains high later in the year.
“It’s not that I don’t [want] the president’s discretionary to be first in the bucket,” Aggour said. “Hopefully, we raise the $15,000 so it doesn’t even matter what order it’s at. But for the sake of having the president’s discretionary still at a good amount later in the year would be ideal.”
The amendment to switch the order of the first two line items was passed in a vote with four “yeses” and one “no.”
Resolution 106-10 was passed with five “yeses.”