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Group approves budget after poll

Liz Harter and Ashley Charnley | Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Saint Mary’s Board of Governance (BOG) approved the Student Government Association (SGA) budget after the third vote on the issue at their meeting Wednesday night. The budget was approved with 24 for it and one abstention.

BOG polled the student body through e-mail as to whether or not they thought the Executive Board deserved a stipend on Tuesday.

Student body president Mickey Gruscinski said 557 students, which is almost one third of the student body, voted and the majority did not agree with the stipend.

Treasurer Mo Weaver presented a revised budget to BOG for their approval. The revised budget did not contain a stipend and the money formerly allocated to the stipend was dispersed to funds for clubs and organizations, co-sponsorships, and the campus Readership Program which brings the USA Today, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the South Bend Tribune to campus.

The budget also allowed for an increase to the contingency fund.

“We upped [the contingency fund] just because we don’t know about this readership program,” Weaver said. “Last year, they budgeted $13,000 for it. So, we just want to make sure we have that covered.”

Patrick Daniel, director of Student Involvement and BOG advisor, congratulated the board on passing the budget; however, he said he was disappointed with the way the issue was handled.

“I’m appreciative of how much people were very passionate about … the budget and the stipend, but I was a little disappointed that it became very personal,” Daniel said.

Daniel reminded BOG and those in attendance at the meeting that student government will make decisions that they don’t agree with at times, and hopes people will focus on the issue instead of making things personal in the future.

He also said that with the passing of the budget, BOG has the opportunity to move forward. “Let’s not let it be just about the money,” he said. “You have to move forward as BOG.”

After discussing the budget, Student Services commissioner Catherine Meadors said Barry Bowles, General Manager of Sodexo at the College, provided her with more information about a boycott of the dining hall which took place before Fall Break in students discontent with the food.

She said Bowles told her that the boycott did not significantly affect the number of students in the dining hall. Bowles also provided her with figures in response to the anonymous fliers calling for the boycott that were put under students’ doors before break.

“He said we [have] the twelfth lowest [cost] out of the top 100 liberal arts colleges for meal plans,” Meadors said. She said Bowles wants to provide a variety of food in the dining hall, and he wants to make sure that it is the variety that students want.

Bowles has an open door policy for students with concerns about the food, she said.