Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

SAGA causes tie and invalid votes in SGA debate


The Student Government Association meeting held on Thursday of Week Nine held one of the most eventful debates of the school year thus far after a contingency from SAGA. The debate consisted of six different proposed fundings and nine different votes, two of which were invalidated, and one of which was a perfect tie. The Senate and Executive Board opted to take a break in the middle of the debate due to confusion.
Two SAGA representatives came in to request funds for the printing of the annual magazine and the corresponding release party. The goal for SAGA is to publish 500 copies of the 2017 magazine, 100 of which would ultimately go to Admissions for the purpose of recruiting perspective creative writing or english students for future years.
The problems for SGA when determining how much they wanted to grant arose when there was speculation of the importance of aspects of the release party and whether or not Admissions should be responsible for paying for the copies they will use. Senator Joshua Zgrabik said in regards to the magazine, “I think it’s a good outlet for them, but those hundred books should be paid for by admissions if they’re going to use them.”
As for the party, some senators thought that SAGA had not put enough effort into trying to find other options. Senator Ravi Patel said, “The tablecloths and stuff like that, I feel like they can figure out with dining services.”
Senator Karthik Kasireddy came to conclusion that SGA should fund the majority of the party costs and 400 copies of the magazine, requiring Admissions to pay for the 100 they would use. Kasireddy opened the debate by motioning for the total of $2,143. Without even voting on this proposal, Senator Brian Guerrero proposed a second amount covering the same prices in addition to paying for the 100 copies going to Admissions.
After a majority vote against this motion, Senator Luke Stoefen suggested that perhaps the release party should not be something SGA should be responsible for paying for. “They’ve had enough time to kind of fundraise for it,” Stoefen said after making a motion for funding only the printing of the books.
This motion led to the first Senate tie of the year, with the Senate locked at 19 for, 19 against, and zero abstained. The failure of the suggestion led to a debate over if even printing the books was something worth funding.
Senator Kevin Seelander said, “I’d like to see them kind of take a step up and show they’re really down to raise the money so they can make these books.”
Following Seelander’s ideas, Senator Brendan Walker made a motion for SGA to only fund the release party which quickly lost in a vote with only two in support of it.
The three consecutive failed motions forced the Senate to reexamine the consistency of their funds. Patel then retracted closely to Kasireddy’s original proposal and suggested funding 400 copies of the magazine and most of the party. However, Patel’s total amount was around $200 higher than Kasireddy’s.
It was later discovered that Patel had calculated the budget incorrectly, but this realization was not made until after the senate had already voted and approved the amount. This forced the vote to be invalidated.
Speaker Chris Wilson then realized that because they had not voted for or against Kasireddy’s original motion, the first suggestion was still on the table and had to be either approved or turned away through a vote. In an attempt to turn away Kasireddy’s first motion, Wilson incorrectly described the process of voting resulting in a second invalidated vote due to misinformation.
The confusion was running high in the Senate at this point that the Executive Board called the debate to a halt temporarily and sent the Senators to meet in their committees. After their return, President Charlie Bentley stepped in to explain the process of voting away Kasireddy’s original proposal which was unanimously voted down, leaving the Senate floor free of undetermined motions.
Senator Francesco Sposito then motioned for the correctly calculated amount Patel had attempted to suggest sooner, reflecting 400 copies and the catering for the release party. This motion was passed in a majority vote 26 for, five against, and four abstained, granting SAGA $2,123. This made the final amount granted only twenty dollars fewer than Kasireddy’s original proposal after nearly an hour of debate.
Other important moments to note from Week Nine’s meeting included a new SGA Andreen Representative’s approval and Senator Amanda Ico’s confirmation as the new SGA Secretary. Star Wars Club completed their first contingency as a group and WAUG was granted funds for a new recording system.

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SAGA causes tie and invalid votes in SGA debate