The Student Government Association (SGA) of UTSA failed to pass their annual budget during their 7th Session of the 44th General Assembly. Representatives spent the majority of the meeting asking questions and discussing line items associated with their 2019-2020 budget.
$47,183 was budgeted for the Fall and Spring semesters. The budget is funded via student fees which students are required to pay. A motion was made to postpone voting on the budget until the next general meeting due to inconsistencies with allocated funds for specific line items.
The floor was opened for deliberation and information gathering. A motion to reconsider the budget being postponed was made with the exception of two line items deemed time sensitive: $13,930 for the SGA Leadership Summit and $830 to the Judicial Branch for election advertisement and tabling.
The motion passed but it was not unanimous. One senator voted against the motion while the rest of the assembly voted in the affirmative.
“SGA’s mission is simple: improve campus life. I only vote ‘yes’ for legislation that I know will achieve that mission. Sending UTSA’s student-elected representation on a $14,000 vacation will neither improve UTSA nor encourage improvement,” Taylor Edwards, College of Liberal and Fine Arts Senator, said.
SGA’s Leadership Summit is nearly 30% of their annual budget. The summit has designated 75 open seats for their representatives and is scheduled for Oct. 4-6 at John Newcombe Tennis Ranch, a tennis club in New Braunfels, TX.
The trip includes $1,600 for transportation; $10,850 for meals and lodging; $400 for Senator booklets and reference guides; $200 for additional supplies; $500 for an administrator meet and greet; $150 for their spring summit and $230 for their director summit.
The decision to hold the summit at John Newcombe Tennis Ranch was made over the summer by the Executive Branch of SGA. Student Body President, Jack Rust, elaborated on the decision for the summit during an exclusive interview with The Paisano.
“We found that John Newcombe was really our best price-point and a price-point that was shared across the UT System and other collegiate institutions across the country for this type of event where you train officers within your organization,” Rust said. “So that was the decision. We liked John Newcombe, and it was a decision that I really advocated for because of the experience I had when I came here [to UTSA] two years ago and it’s something that we are really looking forward to.”
SGA’s next general meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the Denman Ballroom, located inside the Student Union. The remaining budget will be up for another vote.