Student Government Association passes fall budget

The Student Government Association shared its budget for the fall 2021 semester in a newsletter sent through HowlConnect on Oct. 29, 2021. The proposed budget, which was passed in late September, was changed only hours before SGA voted on it, causing confusion and concern among some senators.
President Deon Wilson said that the proposed budget that was initially shared with the senate was based on previous budgets and totaled $125,000, the same amount as the fall 2020 budget. She said that as soon as the Department of Student Life and Ministry informed her that the total budget for fall 2021 would be $150,000, the budget was adjusted to reflect that.
“The senate could have tabled the budget because of that change and taken more time to review it, but they voted to look at it that night,” Wilson said.
Wilson said that Loyola allocated more money to SGA because the Loyola student body is growing. She also said that she worked closely with Director of Finance Carrie Elizabeth Smith to craft the budget.
Compared to the fall 2020 budget, this year’s budget added $2,227 total to president, vice president, and cabinet compensation and $26,770 to initiatives. It also included a $4,000 cut to allocations for student organizations.
The budget passed with 18 “yes” votes, two “no” votes, and one senator abstaining.
Psychology junior Adele Colson, a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said that she was one of several senators who was initially apprehensive because cabinet positions’ pay increased, but the allocations to the student hardship fund did not increase from the original proposed budget.
However, Colson said that after she saw comparisons to previous budgets and saw that cabinet pay had increased in the past, she came to the conclusion that the proposed budget was reasonable, leading her to vote “yes.” She is also setting up an on-campus flea market that will be held in December to raise money for the student hardship fund.
Wilson said that the stipends for the president, vice president, and other cabinet members have increased every year for at least the past several years. She said that these stipends increase because the workload for SGA leadership increases every year and because the president and vice president are not allowed to hold other positions of authority on campus. Wilson said that she had been an RA for the past two years and had to step down so that she could be SGA president.
Political science and criminology junior and senator Joseph Pitre said that he voted “no” on the budget because he felt that the vote was rushed.
“I would’ve felt a lot better if we had time to have them explain things, but it was towards the end of the docket so we didn’t take a lot of time to talk about it,” Pitre said.
History senior Analene McCullough, also a College of Arts and Sciences senator, was the other senator who voted “no.” She said that she did not feel that enough of the additional money was going towards programs that directly help students, such as the student hardship fund.
McCullough noted that SGA held an emergency meeting shortly after Hurricane Ida to allocate $5,000 to the student hardship fund, but that no further money was put towards it in the final budget.
Wilson said that the majority of the additional money was put towards allocations for programs for students, largely through the University Programming Board.
Vice President Tyler Sanchez said that as he sees it, most of the new money is going to help students.
“I think we were able to accomplish a lot with this budget,” he said. “Nothing was cut from the original proposed budget and we were able to fund a lot of social justice-related things, from giving money to the student hardship fund to making sure the Grace of Ignatius Award was still funded to making sure that Iggy’s Cupboard has full funding,” he said.