Adviser regrets past SGA budget choices

If questionable budgeting tactics arise again, the adviser to the Student Government Association said he will take steps to curb them.SGA adviser Larry Markley said he advised against the overbudgeting of SGA, the wording of the vote that raised the student fee and locking $76,500 of the budget into the student activities funding board.

Markley said he wished he would have stopped some of these past actions, and said he will step in to block them in the future.

Markley said he did not believe the vote that raised the fee in November 2005 was very well-supported by students either.

Jace Thompson, current SGA president, said he heard in an SGA meeting that 1,800 students to 2,000 students voted in favor of the increase.

The records for the vote could not be found because of the process used to tally the votes, said Emily Burgwyn, director of Student Affairs Information Services.

Student Affairs Information Services tabulates the online vote electronically and gives the results to the sponsor and the vote is deleted from its records, Burgwyn said.

Thompson said he didnt’ know if any past voting records were kept by SGA.

Markley and Kim Appel, adviser to the House of Student Representatives, did not return phone calls or e-mails by press time to comment on whether records of past votes are kept.

Markley said many of the problems regarding the budget were passed because the House does not spend much time looking at the budget.

“We’ve gone years that nobody even asked a question about the budget,” Markley said.

Markley said when no one asks any questions, “It gives the appearance that you don’t care.”

Markley said this is because the term “budget” scares some SGA members.

“They don’t budget their own money, let alone try and budget everybody’s money,” Markley said.

Markley said he tries to educate every member on budgeting before they take office, but he said it is difficult for them to project what spending will be needed in the future.

Many of the actions were carried out by SGA members who tried to schedule meetings so advisers couldn’t be present to offer suggestions, he said.

Markley said he did not take action to stop these members’ budgeting tactics because he tries to give guidance but still let the students be in charge.

“We are faculty advisers, and it is students’ money,” Markley said.

Kathy Hamer, publication coordinator for Campus Life, said she admired Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, for his stance on letting student organizations be autonomous.

“TCU is good at leaving the students alone to do their jobs,” Hamer said.

She said advisers have difficult jobs.

“Advisers try to foster learning and protect the project but sometimes they can’t,” Hamer said.

Hamer said she has had to make tough choices, but she has never had to block any action by students before.

Mills said, “If we are aware students are misusing student funds or abusing their power, the university is obligated to step in.”

However, Mills said, the university will not block SGA unless it does something illegal or breaks one of the university’s fiscal policies.

“I would hate for my job as administrator to be second-guessing SGA,” Mills said.