Official proposal for MEPD funding causes concern
The Student Government Association released the application for student scholarships on May 4. The SGA scholarship committee and the SGA executive board will select 10 students to receive $1,000 each. To apply, students must be in good academic standing and have filled out their FAFSA. While students of all levels of need or with a GPA of 2.0 or higher may apply, these factors will be taken into consideration during the selection process. There is no required recommendation letter or nominations, though there may be in future years. The deadline for this application is due 11:59 p.m. on May 14, 2016.
Vice provost for inclusion and cross-cultural engagement Pamela Christian will present the university strategic plan for diversity and inclusion on May 12, at 4 p.m. in the SGA conference room.
SGA senior vice president Drew Mattocks proposed $10,000 for Multi-Ethnic Programs and Development to use $5,000 a semester during the 2016-2017 school year to fund affinity groups. If approved, the funding would be allocated to MEPD on July 1, 2016, which would prevent the funds from rolling over into Biola’s general fund. MEPD will seek funds from the university in the future but are not able to be included in the budget for the next school year. They still can seek funding from the university’s contingency, though funding is not guaranteed.
Though previously talked about in senate meetings, the official proposal brought up many concerns for the senators. One of the concerns is that this would go against the precedent set by SGA to not fund other departments. Senators expressed their understanding of the importance of the affinity groups to support students, but many senators feel that passing these funds is not proper for the role of the student government. The consensus is that this funding would only be allowed once, but senators worried about the impact it would have on group members if the amount was funded by SGA for the next year but not funded by the university the following year.
After the discussion, the senate motioned to approve the funding in a vote of 9-1-5. This vote was invalid, though, because they had not officially voted to hold a same day vote. At this point, senators knew that if they did vote that day, the funding would not pass because same day votes require a two-thirds majority, rather than a simple majority. Senators also brought up the fact that they had not taken this on rounds yet because there was some information shared with the senators when MEPD came to the senate meeting they did not want released to students at that time. In the end, the senators decided to vote the following week.