“This is just the beginning”

Kayla Trail

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The Student Government Association (SGA) met Tuesday night, with guest speakers, President Jack Thomas and Provost and Academic Vice President Kathy Neumann.

 Thomas addressed the room with clarifications and updates on Western’s eighth month into FY16 without a state budget.

 “We are doing all that we can do to keep the doors of this university open,” Thomas said. “We have to make some tough decisions and those decisions are those that we have to make if we want to continue to move forward so we are utilizing the reserves that we have. Just to let you know, we hear what you are saying but individuals here, as I have said, I am not here to fight anybody here at Western Illinois University. The fight is not here, if you want to advocate let’s go to Springfield and advocate for this university for a state appropriation as well as map funding.”

Thomas is heading to Springfield tomorrow to meet with legislatures, as well as listen to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s address in regards to the state’s budget and discuss FY17’s budget.

 “We want you to know that we have covered the MAP funding for last semester and also we are covering the map funding for this semester too,” Thomas said. “It is a total of $11 million. As you know, many of our students come from low social economic backgrounds so we want to help our students as much as possible with that financial gap.”

 In hopes to help with cutting costs and better the university in terms of enrollment, Thomas said that they have dropped tuition by three percent for incoming freshmen.

 “We did that because we feel that we have priced ourselves out of an education,” Thomas said. “We pride ourselves in the fact that we are a public institution we are supposed to make sure we are affordable and provide access for those students who meet the standards of the university. We found out that a lot of students do not come back because of grades, but a lot do not come back because they can’t afford the education. So we try to help them as much as possible.”

 SGA also addressed three new bills and two old bills. One of the bills regarding the SGA president and vice president having to hold a GPA of at least 2.75 was killed in committee.

 The first bill discussed was one to lower the required signatures needed for SGA president, vice president, board of trustees and senator at large need to run for positions. It was passed in a 14-5-4 to lower the signatures, having it that the president, vice president and board of trustee would need 100 signatures, and the senator at large would need 50.

The second bill presented was to appoint Andrew Mueller to the position of member to the Council on Student Activity Funds. That was passed 22-1-1.

The third bill that was brought to the table was by Josh Defibaugh, Director of Technology. The bill would put a limit on how many pages students would be allowed to print. Right now, there is no limit on how much a student can print off, and if it is passed, it will limit students to 1,500
pages a semester.

After multiple members discussed their concerns and questions, the bill was tabled and will be readdressed next Tuesday.

The final bill was by SGA president, Wil Gradle, who wanted a bill to pass, that would, according to the bill, allow “no more than $450 be allocated in order to purchase promotional and informational materials for the State of the Student address.”

The bill passed by a 21-0-2 vote.

The next SGA meeting will be held next Tuesday, in the Capital Room inside of the Union.