SGA reforms fiscal policy

Jasmine Cannon

Reforms introduced at Thursday night’s Student Government Association Senate meeting would change the way the SGA reports its expenditures.

Christian Smith, a senator from the College of Commerce and Business Administration, introduced two bills on financial reform. The first bill would require the SGA to post its budget on the website monthly, instead of weekly.

“The reason they’re doing that is because they don’t get the receipts except for once a month,” Senator Ryan Flamerich said. “They physically cannot do it.”

The second bill would only require the SGA to give detailed reports of expenditures in excess of $500.

“They would still report everything, but they would not give a detailed description,” SGA Executive Vice President Nicole Bohannon said. “For example, if we spent $200 on pizza, it would just say ‘we spent $200 on pizza,’ not ‘we spent $200 on pizza to get more students to come.’”

Smith said it was designed to make it easier for the SGA to report day-to-day expenses.

“It’s not like it’s going to be unreported, it’ll just be day-to-day operations and small costs,” he said. “Everything would still be public. It’s not hiding anything.”

Flamerich said the bill would reduce the organization’s fiscal transparency.

“They do not have to report any expenditure under $500 on the website,” Flamerich said. “Basically, they can spend up to $499.99 and nobody would know about it, because right now that’s the only way the Senate can see their expenditures.”

            The meeting began with an address by former SGA president Libby Anderson Carter Halaby.  Halaby is a 1946 graduate of the University and the first female vice president and president of the SGA and is responsible for the creation of the Senate.

“I feel that SGA is a critical part of the life of the University of Alabama,” Halaby said. “I am so proud of the strength they have and the outreach they have. I’m so proud the Senate is active because it brings in the views of the students all over the campus. The whole thing has gone beyond my wildest imaginations, and I want to congratulate them, and I’m proud of them.”

Her speech started off with her telling the differences between student life during her college days and today and ended with few guidelines to follow. After her address, Halaby was awarded a resolution by the SGA.

            “I’m overwhelmed,” Halaby said. “I have to throw a party in Washington and make everybody read it.”

Halaby’s appearance and address proved to have a positive effect on the members of the SGA and Senate.

“Halaby is a complete legend in SGA, and we’re so lucky to have her,” Bohannon said. “I hope that, if nothing else, it inspired the senators and sort of rejuvenated them for this last part of their term. I hope that it really inspires them to be engaged and active and really work for the student body the way she did when she was on campus.”

The senate then swore in three new senators. Morgan Duffy, Emily Frost and Tyler Thompson all took the oath to become official members.

After the swearing in of the new senators, the SGA voted and passed three resolutions and one joint resolution before bringing new business to the table. Five resolutions, three bills and one joint resolution were introduced to the senate.

Senators SoRelle Wyckoff and Ebony Smith authored a resolution in regard to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visiting the University.

“This resolution was to honor Rice for actually taking time out of her busy schedule to come to the University of Alabama to speak with us,” Smith said. “It is a tremendous occasion because we are doing the re-dedication for Foster Auditorium, so it’s a really big event. We just want to let her know on behalf of the Student Government Association and the student Senate that we appreciate her coming down here, and we are so honored.”

Rice, a native of Alabama, will be speaking on Nov. 4 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Ferguson Center Theater and will be hosting a book signing in the Foster Auditorium Lobby from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Senator Matt Harris had two resolutions proposed at this week’s Senate meeting, one regarding Julia’s Market deli online ordering and the other honoring Airman Mark Forester.

“Originally [Julia’s Market] was on the Bama Dining website,” Harris said. “We moved it to the myBama homepage under the Student tab in the Bama Dining block, so it’s now easier for students to utilize. It’s more convenient.”

Harris said they will be posting signs in Tutwiler Hall, and though it may be a little tough to find on myBama, once the word gets out it will spread like wildfire.