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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New Budgets Cause Senator Feud

Joint Board passed the Spring 2012 Budget with overwhelming support on Wednesday, despite a lengthy and heated debate on the $25,000 allocated to Films for the spring semester.  It was a stressful start for new SGA Films Chair Phillip Brogdon ’12, who was confirmed earlier in the meeting.

“Something’s got to be done about Films,” said Senator Max Farrell ’12, who calculated that SGA is paying $50 to $70 per movie viewer, given low attendance at events and high screening fees.

Senator Tom Van Heeke ’12 proposed that SGA slash the budget for Films and save the money, instead of overfunding an outdated department. Natalie Pace ’14 asked Joint Board to consider donating the money to charities in the Grinnell community.  Both of those suggestions met vehement opposition.

“We don’t actually know how many people attend these events,” said Administrative Coordinator Alex White ’12, disputing Farrell’s shaky math.  “We don’t sell tickets—the events are free.  You can’t come up with a per viewer cost.”

“SGA does not decide its income,” said Scarlet and Black Editor-in-Chief and recently declared SGA presidential candidate Solomon Miller ’13, explaining the importance of the student activity fee.  “Joint Board’s job is to spend almost all of that money to meet the needs of the student population as efficiently as possible.”

VPSA Chris Dorman ’12 tried to reach a compromise.  He said that unhappy senators should focus on “what a films committee should look like in the 21st Century,” by proposing solutions for low event attendance, not slashing budgets.

Farrell, Van Heeke, and Ryan Creps ’12 were the only three senators who did not vote to approve the budget.

In his report at the start of Joint Board, Dorman recounted the start of a new project for the Dining Hall—the quest for Nutella.  Because the hazelnut chocolate spread is protected by licensing laws, it cannot be purchased for use in the JRC.  However, student demand has convinced the chefs to work on their own recipe.  They hope to discover the perfect blend of hazelnut and chocolate sometime soon.

SGA President Gabe Schechter ’12 spoke in favor of Senator Sam Mulopulos’s ’14 proposal to have better cooperation and coordination between Joint Board and Grinnell’s security forces.

“So much crap was going on [last semester] that I couldn’t believe it,” said Assistant Director of Security Russ Motta. “It seemed like we couldn’t get it under control. . . . We were not pleased with last semester, either, so we are happy that you guys are paying attention and want to work with us.”

The proposal was passed with all voting senators in favor and two abstentions.

Student involvement and attention will be especially needed in the next few weeks.  The Student Initiative Committee reminds Grinnellians that initiative proposals are due today at 5 p.m.  Voting on those proposals and amendments to the SGA Constitution will occur on Wednesday, Feb. 22.  Also, Schechter encourages all Grinnellians to comment on the administration’s new off-campus alcohol policy by following the link on the homepage of Pioneer Web.

“If you don’t show interest this time, they don’t have to extend the opportunity next time,” he said.

Finally, Presiding Officer Peter Aldrich ’15 ended the meeting with an unapologetic explanation of his “hard ass” attitude, following Farrell’s frequent tedious taunts in Joint Board and the pages of the S&B.

“I’m paid to enforce Robert’s Rules,” said Aldrich. “That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

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