UI Student Government senators could override president’s vetoes

Bills to allocate funding to the second First-Generation Summit and the UI Lecture Committee are back on the table at Tuesday's UISG Senate meeting.

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UI Student Government senators could override president’s vetoes

A speaker addresses members of UISG at the IMU on September 25, 2018.

A speaker addresses members of UISG at the IMU on September 25, 2018.

Megan Nagorzanski

A speaker addresses members of UISG at the IMU on September 25, 2018.

Megan Nagorzanski

Megan Nagorzanski

A speaker addresses members of UISG at the IMU on September 25, 2018.

Marissa Payne, Managing Editor

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University of Iowa Student Government senators will vote at the group’s meeting tonight on legislation the organization’s president recently vetoed because of concerns regarding spending student fees.

At the Feb. 12 meeting, senators approved $22,000 for the University Lecture Committee for a Diane Guerrero event as well as a maximum of $25,700 in funding for the second First-Generation Summit. In statements released this past weekend, UISG President Hira Mustafa noted the reasons for vetoing both pieces of legislation were primarily that she felt it was fiscally responsible to do so.

The funding for both pieces of legislation would come from UISG’s contingency fund, which contains money from the Student Activity Fee and currently holds more than $300,000. The fund needs to keep a balance between $60,000 and $120,000 by the end of the term, which is in about 60 days.

Today, two-thirds of the UISG senators could vote to override Mustafa’s vetoes on funding the summit for $25,700 and Guerrero’s lecture for $22,000. The Senate could alternatively pass Student Senate Bill 32 to fund the lecture for $12,000.

The First-Generation Summit Committee had not released a statement in response to the veto at the time of publication.

The Lecture Committee bill would help fund efforts to bring actor and author Guerrero to the UI in April. The original legislation requested $12,000, but the Senate passed the bill Feb. 12 with an additional $10,000 in funding.

UISG allocated $125,000 to the committee for fiscal 2019. 

RELATED: UISG president vetoes First-Generation Summit legislation 

Mustafa’s statement to the Senate said allocating funding to the committee for the lecture beyond $12,000 would be “an irresponsible use of student dollars.”

Lecture Committee Chair Abigail Simon wrote to the Senate that because UISG’s contingency fund has more than $300,000, “UISG does not share the same widespread budgetary concerns as many academic departments and schools on campus.” She urged swift action by the Senate to reconfirm funding for the lecture so the committee could extend an offer to Guerrero to speak at the UI.

The committee has contacted 21 organizations, eight of which agreed to contribute funding to the lecture, Simon said. Other funding sources did not share the same financial abilities as UISG, Simon said in response to Mustafa’s statement that UISG should not increase allocations requests “before it knows whether there are other feasible opportunities for the group making the request to acquire funding.”

An allocation of $12,000 would prompt the Lecture Committee to take money from the F. Wendell Miller Fund, Simon said. Money from the fund is typically used in an annual partnership with Hancher to bring speakers such as basketball player Kareem Abdul Jabbar and actor Leslie Odom Jr. to campus.

If the Lecture Committee does not receive $22,000, Simon said the committee may take from the Miller Fund “with the understanding that money allocated to us by UISG for next academic year is placed back into that account as replacement funds,” leaving the Lecture Committee short $10,000 for the next fiscal year.

“This is not a sustainable funding arrangement,” Simon said.

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