UISG upholds veto on First-Generation Summit funding following budget concerns

After debates at the UISG meeting Feb. 19, the group backed the veto on funding for the First-Generation Summit, citing concerns about catering, marketing, and photographing.


Alyson Kuennen

UISG Hira Mustafa looks on during discussion of a potential senate override to her veto on funding for the First Generation Summit at the Iowa Memorial Union on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

University of Iowa Student Government senators voted to uphold UISG President Hira Mustafa’s veto on legislation funding the second First-Generation Summit on Tuesday.

Twenty-nine of 50 senators voted to pass the legislation, falling five votes short of the required 34 votes to override a veto.

Mustafa vetoed the bill last week, citing concerns in a statement released Feb. 16 with the budgeting and financial planning of the summit. The First-Generation Summit Planning Committee responded to Mustafa’s veto on Tuesday, urging the Senate to override Mustafa’s veto.

The student Senate originally passed the bill to allocate $23,200 to the summit on Feb. 12.

Mustafa cited catering, photography, and marketing as financial concerns regarding the summit.

RELATED: First-Generation Summit Committee responds to UISG president’s veto

The committee defended its decision to use an outside photographer in their statement, as hiring a student photographer maintained the theme of campus-wide collaboration.

In her veto statement, Mustafa said the $1,000 budgeted for an outside photographer for the summit was an irresponsible use of the Student Activity Fee.

UISG photographer Tanner Mauk said he understood it would be his responsibility to photograph the summit.

“The committee talked about wanting to build someone’s portfolio and wanting to hire a first-gen student, and I’m both. One choice is $1,000 dollars, and one is free. If the student government is obligated to build anyone’s portfolio, it’s someone inside student government,” Mauk said.

UISG Student Life Committee chair Alexia Sánchez, a First-Generation Summit Committee member, said both Mauk and an outside student photographer would be utilized during the summit.

Mustafa said during Senate debate that she expressed to Sánchez during previous meetings that she would not support any funding for an outside photographer.

Sánchez said she never entered into a contract with an outside photographer.

“The relationship or initial conversations I’ve had [with the photographer] were for me to do my due diligence with both his side of working in photography, as well as what the summit campaign is looking for,” Sánchez said.

RELATED: UISG president vetoes First-Generation Summit legislation

Funding for the summit comes from UISG’s contingency fund, which is made up of funds from the Student Activity Fee. Currently, the fund sits at more than $300,000, which must be spent down to between $120,000 and $60,000 before the end of the legislative session in 60 days.

The committee circulated a petition in support of the summit, which received more than 100 signatures from undergraduate students, as well as alumni, faculty, staff, and community members.

The committee chose not to amend the original bill with Mustafa’s proposed budget alterations, instead presenting the original bill to the Senate to vote to override the veto. UISG Academic Affairs Committee chair Guowei Qi, also a member of the summit committee, said the decision was made in the interest of simplicity.

“There were a lot of items that we looked over that were amended by the Senate, and we wanted a chance for us as the committee to look at the items ourselves,” Qi said during Senate debate. “In the interest of simplicity and upholding some of those line items in the budget, we decided to just override the veto. This budget was passed last week with the intention that we would continue to secure outside funding.”

The Senate also debated to override a bill to provide University Lecture Committee with $22,000 of funding. The Senate voted not to override Mustafa’s veto but approved the original $10,000 allocated to the government.

The committee will have the opportunity to present a new funding bill for the First-Generation Summit at the next Senate meeting on Feb. 26.