Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) held a third round of cabinet and senate leadership elections at its most recent meeting. It will hold its last cabinet election during the April 27 meeting.
Elections for secretary for infrastructure and sustainability (I&S), secretary for safety, speaker pro tempore and parliamentarian were held during this meeting.
Academic Senator Alia Agee ran unopposed for secretary for I&S and was elected on a platform of reducing single-use plastics, collaborating with environmental organizations and improving accessibility in Miami’s infrastructure.
Incumbent Secretary for Safety Harper Sutton ran unopposed and was re-elected after highlighting several initiatives she’d like to work on, such as making emergency contraceptives available in markets, improving SafeRide and performing a campus-wide audit for restroom accessibility.
On-Campus Senator Wes Payne was elected speaker pro tempore on a platform of re-evaluating senate requirements, establishing committee standing rules and educating members of ASG on oversight.
In the only contested election of the night, Off-Campus Senator Omar Elghazawi and At-Large Senator Eli Davies ran for parliamentarian.
Elghazawi said he would improve ASG’s student concern tracker, work with senate leadership on transitioning back to in-person meetings and establish an election task force if elected.
Davies said he would make ASG’s records more accessible, improve organization of ASG’s archival documents and create a guide for writing legislation if elected.
ASG elected Elghazawi to the position.
ASG also approved its last round of student organization funding of the semester and passed two pieces of legislation during the meeting.
This round, just less than $18,000 was allocated to 23 different organizations, significantly less than the $195,000 that was budgeted for the round.
This year, ASG allocated just less than $270,000 out of the $753,973 that was budgeted, leaving a large surplus that will roll over into next year’s budget.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
Several members of ASG expressed concern over the low amount of funding requested and allocated this round, especially because the funds student organizations requested this round will cover the first 50 days of the fall semester.
On-Campus Senator Nav Chima asked whether organizations could potentially request an emergency funding hearing at the beginning of next semester to cover unexpected costs for Mega Fair. However, Secretary of Finance Ben Waugh said this would not be possible due to the timing of Mega Fair.
“Unfortunately, there will not be another opportunity to request funds before Mega Fair, just because Mega Fair occurs so quickly into the semester,” Waugh said. “We tried to make it as clear as we could to request [funding] now, assuming we would be as close to normal circumstances as possible in the fall.”
Some members of ASG, such as Off-Campus Senator Ian Chenkus, suggested making ASG’s funding rules less strict to encourage more organizations to request funding.
“Can we look at re-examining some of the [funding] rules? There's no reason orgs shouldn't want money, so there's got to be something else at play,” Chenkus said. “We're supposed to disperse the funds, not leave them sitting in an account.”
Despite these concerns, the allocations passed unanimously.
The first piece of legislation passed was a bill authored by Academic Senator Gillian Brown, On-Campus Senator Nav Chima and Off-Campus Senator Connor Manley.
The bill amended the bylaws of ASG’s Judicial Council – which oversees appeals from the Funding and Audit and Elections committees – to require all members to complete non-bias training before participating in any hearings.
The bill passed unanimously.
The second piece of legislation, a resolution authored by On-Campus Senator Olivia Thomas and Academic Senator Ben Maldonado, was a sense of senate resolution officially expressing support for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The text of the resolution acknowledged that members of certain marginalized communities may be wary of receiving the vaccine due to a history of medical malpractice, a fact that Speaker Pro Tempore Victoria Villanueva said she appreciated.
“[This fear] is something that's affected my family and is the reason that many members of my own family are hesitant to get the vaccine,” Villanueva said, “so I'm really happy to see that ASG, in passing this legislation, would take steps to educate students that may be affected by that.”
The resolution passed with 32 approvals, zero denials and two abstentions.
ASG’s next meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27. At that meeting, it will hold an election for its final vacant cabinet position – secretary of the treasury.