In a heated discussion at the Student Government meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18 a resolution to authorize the purchase of business cards for senators was denied in a vote of 2-18.
Sen. Luke Thompson, author of the resolution, stressed the importance of student senators having their own business cards while Sen. Sam Jones-Darling supported the resolution.
"I've been asked by multiple members of administration including [EMU] President Smith for a business card," said Sen. Jones-Darling. "There have been instances where members of Student Government have been asked by student organizations, by senators, by the mayor of the city of Ypsilanti for business cards, in which they responded that 'they did not have them' and the mayor responded 'that could be a problem.'"
Sen. Jones-Darling also stated that business cards in a professional setting are not a privilege, they are a standard, noting that members of the executive board have business cards and the rest of the SG Senate should have them as well.
The resolution requested authorization of $520 for the purchase of business cards, with up to $100 withdrawn from the Senate Resolution Fund for future senators. Sen. Jones-Darling also noted that student governments at other universities in Michigan give their members business cards.
Annaliese Corace, Speaker of the Senate, disagreed with Sen. Jones-Darling, stating that SG funds are meant to be used for the students at EMU.
"You guys each joined Student Government for a specific reason, to pass a resolution. This is for that resolution," said Speaker Corace. "If you need certain funds in order to get that resolution off the ground, that's what this should be used for."
Sen. Austin Deljevic agreed with Speaker Corace, stating that, "This isn't our money to use; it's the student's money to use."
Sen. Jones-Darling argued that having business cards would make senators "easier to contact" and would indirectly benefit the student body as a result. In response Justin Snyder, director of the Business and Finance Committee, said that because all E-board members currently have business cards SG is already easy to contact.
Sen. Jones-Darling said, "I would note that if we are spending money on students, perhaps we should not plan a senate retreat that will cost $14-16 per person."
Speaker Corace clarified that funds for the senate retreat come from a separate account and advocated for the importance of bringing members together to form cohesion and positive relationships.
Sen. Jones-Darling asked if SG was a public entity, questioning if other public entities in the state of Michigan require individuals representing them to pay for representation [business cards] out of pocket.
Student Body President Tanasia Morton said that, "As an intern for State Representative David E. Rutledge, he has not funded me business cards." Student Body President Morton also noted that the Human Relations Commission for the city of Ypsilanti has not funded her for business cards.
Sen. Jones-Darling asked if Student Body President Morton had inquired about getting business cards. She responded, "No, because I don't need them."
Even if the resolution failed Joshua Starr, Student Body Vice-President, said that if senators wanted to purchase their own business cards they could pay $26 and he would order them.
Approval of funds for Black Women in Leadership Gala
The Black Student Union at Eastern Michigan University appealed a funding request for the Black Women in Leadership Gala from the EMU Student Government, requesting an amount of $1100.
The Business and Finance Committee had initially awarded BSU a partial amount of $800 to fund the Black Women in Leadership Gala, believing that BSU had not fundraised enough for the event.
BSU's treasurer Candice Crutcher spoke on behalf of the organization, citing the fact that BSU had not requested funds from Student Government in over a year and the event would have to be cancelled without the full allocation of $1100.
While $1,000 was pledged in donations none of it was actually fundraised, which is why the partial amount of $800 was initially awarded by SG. As stated by Treasurer Crutcher during the Business and Finance Committee meeting on Oct. 11, the number of people expected to attend the event was 60 people at most. However, she wanted to correct any miscommunication by stating that 60 people had RSVP'd for the event and they expected at least 150 people to attend.
Treasurer Crutcher said, "There's this saying in the black community that says 'why don't black people RSVP?' and the answer is 'because we don't know if we're going until we are on our way.'"
Delegate Waverly Bausley of BSU spoke in favor of funding the event, stating that it would be "an investment in the student body," while several other senators echoed Delegate Bausley's sentiment.
Delegate Bausley also emphasized the urgency of allocating the full funds to BSU because the event was scheduled to take place on Oct. 29. Director Snyder noted that it takes three full weeks for the funds to be processed from the date of the funds being awarded.
The funding request to be awarded the full $1100 was passed in a vote of 17-0-2.
Award status of Senator Emeritus
The SG senate voted on a resolution to award Kiera Fegan the status of Senator Emeritus. Fegan was elected Speaker of the Senate in 2014, serving two-terms in this position. Fegan was also awarded Senator of the Year in 2015 and 2016 because of exemplary service that she provided as Speaker of the Senate.
Senator Emeritus is an honorary title given to nominees for achieving a reputation for outstanding service to the senate in several capacities over a considerable period of time. In a vote of 20-0-0 the resolution passed to award Kiera Fegan the title of Senator Emeritus.
Provisional senator appointments
In a vote of 19-0-1 Provisional Senator Justin Walters was awarded status as a senator. Provisional Senator Chandlar Hines was also unanimously awarded status as a senator, leaving two positions available in the SG senate.
During gallery comments at the end of the meeting Student Body President Morton encouraged senators to put forth more resolutions and avoid internal conflict. “I would like to see us work more for our students. Our focus is on them, not arguing internally.”
Sen. Jones-Darling also mentioned that there is now a bus pass subsidized by EMU parking that costs $40. The bus pass includes unlimited transportation for 30 days between designated stops in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.