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Volume 68, Issue 98 , Tuesday, February 18, 2003


SGA asks SFAC for $120,000

Request is 25 percent lower than last year's

By Matt Dulin
The Daily Cougar

Promoting their five key objectives for the coming year, the Student Government Association told members of the Student Fees Advisory Committee on Monday that "we represent everyone at UH," and that steps were being taken to live up to that credo.

SGA Director of Finance Alan Ogunmuyiwa presented an overview of the 39th administrationis operating budget from this past year and provided projections for next year. His prognosis: SGA is looking good.

"As youill notice (from the budget), thereis nothing in the red. If anything, we have a little extra money," Ogunmuyiwa told the committee. He said they were able to control certain expenses tightly enough to prevent overspending, such as printing, mailing and telephone costs.

While trimming expenditures, SGA President Dawona Miller has several goals in place for the Senate -- some of which are objectives she says have been the general focus of the SGA for several years.

In her segment of the presentation, Miller told the committee that SGA is looking to developing online voting as well as reworking the constitution and election code. 

"Weid like to get professional legal guidance on the constitution and election code. Itis a tedious process," Miller said.

She also said she wants the SGA Web site improved, possibly by tapping skilled and interested students looking for the experience.

She also said they are looking to create a special seat on the Senate to represent commuter issues as an effort to connect to the large segment of the UH population that doesnit live on campus.

"We serve them, too," Miller said.

And then, of course, thereis Shasta.

"Weive been looking into getting a live cougar on campus. We think it would really help connect students to the idea of being a Cougar," Miller said. "That, I think, would really help build spirit."

Victoria Gonzalez, the public relations officer for SGA, said the Senate takes several measures to address student issues: town hall meetings, legislation, formal Senate meetings, committee assignments and newsletters.

"There are lots of opportunities for us to address problems that we can solve," Gonzalez said.

Ogunmuyiwa said the good news didnit hint at any kind of surplus funds, just better management.

"We are setting aside a little extra, as a kind of cushion, for the upcoming elections," he said, referring to the new measures being taken to modernize the voting system.

Ogunmuyiwa says the benefits of the new system -- avoiding fraud and miscounting -- outweigh the slightly higher costs.

Last year, fiscal mismanagement and an unprofessional presentation drew heightened criticism from SFAC, which demanded improvements from the organization. SGA relies totally on student fee money.

The official request submitted by SGA comes out to less than $120,000 -- nearly $40,000 less than requested last year when a shortfall left SGA looking for help.

SFAC approved a one-time allocation of more than $23,000 and allotted another $20,000 for FY2003, with conditions that the administrations keep most of it for the next presidential term.

The presentation, led primarily by Ogunmuywia and Vice President Jon Quintanilla, garnered nods of approval from the committee.

Wil Weber, a presidential faculty representative, commended the SGA presenters during the question period.

"Youive made significant improvements, and you should be commended on that," Weber said.

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