The Student Government General Assembly approved their budget for the 2018–2019 academic year with a grand majority of votes at their meeting Monday night. A group of medical school students also gave a presentation on their efforts to investigate gun control.
There was some disagreement over the decision to cut the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention (SAAP) committee budget from $12,000 to $6,000. The Assembly has made the decision in large part because SAAP has only spent around $6,000 this year, most of which has been used for various sexual assault awareness month events. It has never spent its entire budget in past years.
“Cutting half of something that is already a pretty small pool is concerning to me,” fourth-year College Council representative Cosmo Albrecht said. “I don’t understand why we would target this item when there are other places in the budget where we could potentially reduce.”
Other students voiced concern over a decrease in the Student Leadership Recognition and Access (SLRA) program to $4,500. The SLRA exists to provide funding for students in various leadership positions on campus. The Assembly claims it is being underutilized, so 64 percent of its funds have been reallocated for next year.
The budget increases available funds for the Coalition of Academic Teams, the Program Coordinating Council, and the Student Government Finance Committee, which provides funding for RSOs. In total, the Assembly allocated $2,361,000 for next year's budget.
The Uncommon Fund and New York Times Readership Program will remain unfunded next academic year, but provisions will remain in the by-laws for them to be refunded by the next Student Government.
Two students voted against the budget and four others abstained from voting. Afterward, a group of Pritzker students acting with the Committee on Free Inquiry gave a presentation on their initiative to investigate gun violence.
“Our first issue that we decided to tackle as a group is gun violence,” said Jason Castaneda, a Pritzker student and member of the committee.
The committee wants to conduct studies on gun violence, a topic which they believe hasn’t been studied as much as it should in the last 20 years due in part to legislation called the Dickey Amendment, which forbids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding studies that advocate for gun control.
The group is drafting a resolution that they plan on presenting to the Assembly, which, if passed, would ideally lead them to talks with the University. They hope that their efforts will cause more universities to launch investigations into gun violence.
The Executive Slate has postponed presenting its resolution on the shooting of Charles Thomas and the future course of action of the UCPD to Assembly until more information is made available.
Clarification on April 24, 2018, 12:06 p.m. CDT:
This article has been edited for clarification on the reasons the Assembly reallocated its funds.