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RSO’s appeal for more SAFA funding

After hearing three Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) appeal for more Student Activity Fee Allocation (SAFA) funds, the Student Government Association (SGA) approved an overall increase of $2,050; bringing the fall 2015 SAFA total to $129,616.78.
Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, the Human Resources Club and Model United Nations (MUN) were among the four scheduled presenters. A presentation from Pride, Raising awareness, Involvement, Support and Mentor (PRISM) Alliance was also on the senate meeting agenda but did not have a representative present.
Debate over allocating funds for a high-profile speaker for the MUN’s 50th anniversary of its high school competition conference dominated the meeting’s discussion.
Senior Briana Wilbanks, MUN secretary, spoke before the senate calling the complete denial of MUN’s $5,000 request “unprecedented.”
Wilbanks said MUN hopes to invite Chelsea Clinton or Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, to speak to the event’s attendees, which would include high school students from across the state and MUN’s 30 members. The speaking event would be open to the UCA community.
After an extended presentation and question/answer session with Wilbanks, the senate moved to debate.
Junior Class President Stephanie Daigle motioned to provide MUN with the $5,000, citing her positive experience attending the previous three MUN competitions.
Several senators including Vice President of Finance Corey Parks, Sen. Ryan Pfaff and Sen. Zach Helms rose in opposition of the allocation change.
Sen. Helms said after looking at the spring 2015 SAFA funds, he found that the SAFA Committee’s denial of MUN’s funding request was not unprecedented, and MUN had not received funding for the similar events during previous semester.
Vice President Parks said he thought MUN competition is great thing for the campus and he hopes it continues, but felt uncomfortable allocating the students’ money toward a high-school-centric event.
The appeal was rejected with a 2-37 vote; Daigle willingly abstained from voting.
Psi Chi originally asked the SAFA Committee for $5,000 to cover the time and travel costs for a “nationally recognized” psychology professional and was allocated $750.
Psi Chi President senior Marissa Wells told the senate about her club’s difficulty attracting previous speakers due their small working budget to cover travel and time costs.
“We still feel $5,000 is still on the low-end of getting a high-caliber speaker,” Wells said.
Junior Senator Mollie Henegar motioned to support the club with $2,500. The additional funding passed 38-0, with forced abstentions from Psi Chi members Henagar and junior Sen. Tyler Ramsey.
After a 32-8 vote, SGA allocated $300 to the HR Club to cover Central Arkansas Human Resources Association conference fees for four students.
PRISM was allocated $2,625 of the $3,500 it requested to host speaker Ivan Coyote this fall after the club was unable to bring them (Coyote uses gender neutral pronouns) to campus this spring. Coyote is a spoken word performer who does not believe in the gender binary.

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