Previously on SGA: Mock Trial funding debate

The following covers the meeting on Nov. 2.


It is customary for one of SGA’s two faculty advisors to be present at every senate meeting; Neither advisor was in attendance on Nov. 2.

Climate Check:

President Danny Nguyen placed a 10-minute limit on climate check to ensure that there would be time to hear all the funding requests on the docket.

Sophomore Senator Ani Siva gave an update on the initiative to install more water bottle-filling stations in residence hall water fountains and stated that he had a meeting with Bret Biance, director of the residential life office, and Jim Baker, senior director of facilities services, on Nov. 3. The plan is to have students living in residential areas on campus vote on where they would like the stations to be placed.

Senator Siva also gave an update on the on-campus minimum wage initiative, stating that the initiative will be tabled until next year because the final budget for the 2023-24 school year has been finalized.

Sophomore Senator Ella Charbonnet announced that SGA would be hosting the first Free Food Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 11 and serving food from Bird Bakery.

Senator Charbonnet also stated that dining services were working on getting a quote for a new ice-cream machine, according to Charles Robles, food service director.

President Nguyen announced that the inauguration of Vanessa Beasley, president, will take place on Feb. 11 and will be commemorated with a week of events.

Junior Senator Danae Barkocy updated the senate on the Plan B vending machine initiative she is working on with Marcy Youngdahl, director of integrated counseling and health services. They are currently working on estimating the cost of products, cost of machines, looking into funding sources and on-campus marketing.

Senior Senator Ameer Mustafa informed the senate about his meeting with Bruce Bravo, senior director of conferences and auxiliary services, about an initiative to lower prices in the P.O.D. Bravo was interested in connecting with some of the younger senators who would be willing to take on this initiative and continue conversations after the school’s contract with Aramark and the current suppliers run out. First-year Senator Lacey Miller and first-year Senator Sameed Aijaz expressed interest.

Senator Siva stated that RockBot had been updated so everything except for super explicit music should now be allowed.

President Nguyen informed the senate that he, Advisor Demi Brown, dean of students, Eric Maloof, vice president for enrollment management and an NCAA representative would be meeting to discuss the possibility of subsidizing the cost of tickets so students can attend NCAA postseason games for cheap.

Senate Funding Requests:

President Nguyen and Aliya Jackson, director of finance for Trinity University student ambassadors (TUSA), presented a funding request to the senate to fund the Trini-Tailgate on Nov. 12 which will be co-sponsored by Greek Council, SGA and TUSA. They requested a total of $5,862.80 to provide catering from Smoke Shack BBQ and Honchos and to coordinate with facilities services to procure 60 tables for different student organizations to table at the event.
Dispensing with the usual post-proposal discussion, the senate immediately put the funding request to a vote. Sophomore Senator Andrew Phillips moved to fund the Trini-Tailgate fully. Senator Siva seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

Menstrual Product Dispensers

President Nguyen presented a funding request for $2,820 to fund four ADA-compliant menstrual product dispensers that will provide both tampons and pads to students for free. Three dispensers will be installed in Coates Library, Coates Student Center and Mabee Dining Hall, and the fourth dispenser will be stored in case one break. The funding request will also cover the cost of menstrual products that President Nguyen estimates will last for two to three years.
The senate again immediately put the proposal to a vote. Senator Siva motioned to fully fund the menstrual product dispensers. Senator Charbonnet seconded the motion almost before Senator Siva finished making it, and the motion passed unanimously. After the vote, President Nguyen stated that now that funding was approved, the dispenser should be installed within two or three weeks.

Chi Beta Epsilon 3rd Round Event

Adelaide McCormick, rush chair for Chi Beta Epsilon, presented a funding request for $2,136 in order to rent bus service limousines, meals and champagne flutes for their third-round rush event. The event in question would be a dry event.
During the post-presentation discussion, Senator Siva pointed out that SGA is trying to reduce funding this year and that limousines are not the most cost-effective choice for transportation. Vice President Donya Ahmadi further pointed out that the SGA finance committee has a rule that states they can fund first and second-round events but not third-round events because the first two rounds are open to the entire Trinity community whereas third round is invite-only. The rationale is that the student activity fund (SAF) should be used for the entire student body. Sophomore Senator Allison Waters asked if there was an item that SGA could encourage the sorority to ask for reimbursement for. Vice President Ahmadi suggested emailing them with the recommendation to apply for reimbursement for their first or second-round event.
Senator Mustafa motioned to deny Beta Chi Epsilon the requested amount of $2,136. The motion was seconded by Senator Siva and passed with none against and three abstaining.

Swing Bums

Junior Suzy Smith, Swing Bums treasurer, presented a funding request for Swing Bums’ annual Yule Ball. This event, consisting of food and drinks, dancing and a live jazz band, will take place right before finals. After the Senate confirmed that TUPD’s presence at an event with an off-campus band would be free, Senator Barkocy motioned to fully fund the requested amount of $1,974.54. Senator Aijaz seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Mock Trial

Two Mock Trial competition coordinators, senior Evan Engelhaupt and sophomore Anita Ashok, presented a funding request to send two teams to the Austin College Invitational Competition in Sherman, Texas. In order to cover lodging, food and transportation, as well as competition-specific materials, they requested $3,247.88. According to Ashok, Mock Trial is closer than ever to getting to the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS), with the invitational in question taking place the weekend before Thanksgiving break.

The questioning began with Senator Siva making reference to a TU Snaps post in which a poster joked that Mock Trial hazes by tarring and feathering. Engelhaupt said although Mock Trial does not haze, the post did make the officers “take a pause.” Other more serious concerns included the possibility of Mock Trial requesting additional funding in the spring if they continued competing, with Legislative Relations Chair Leal answering that if this competition isn’t funded, it’s unlikely they will have progressed enough to return for future competitions.

After the presentation, SGA discussion lingered on the issue of Mock Trial not submitting receipts from past competitions in time for additional funding to be presented. According to Vice President Ahmadi, it is clearly stated to groups who receive SAF funding that their future funding is contingent upon submitting receipts of used funds within two weeks or by the “final deadline” of Dec. 31. Senator Siva brought up past funding requests SGA has denied on the basis of missing receipts and argued multiple times that precedent must be followed. Vice President Ahmadi stated she emailed Mock Trial twice to remind them about submitting receipts, and that it had been over a month since funds were used.

Senator Mustafa motioned to deny Mock Trial’s funding request, and it was seconded by Senator Kakadia. The motion did not pass. The issue was tabled and then revisited after a funding request by organizers of Lunar New Year (below).

Upon returning to the discussion, Senator Phillips suggested tentative funding provided that Mock Trial returns receipts. Vice President Ahmadi said funding cannot be rewarded for following an agreed-upon contract. Senator Phillips expanded, suggesting a change in the Constitution that would allow for conditional funding. President Nguyen said this kind of change would undergo processes needing to take place before they vote on Mock Trial’s funding. Senator Barkocy suggested a sort of conditional solution, too, that would tell Mock Trial SGA can’t make an honest deliberation until receipts are received.

Senator Siva motioned to deny Mock Trial’s funding request. Senator Mustafa seconded the motion. With three no’s and four abstaining, the motion passed.

Lunar New Year

Three student organizers of the annual Lunar New Year (LNY) celebration presented a funding request for LNY on behalf of a collaboration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) student organizations. Their budget included line items such as food, material goods for performances and T-shirts. LNY at Trinity will include a show full of student performances as well as a dinner in collaboration with Mabee which brought in about 1, 200 students last year, 400 more than the average night at Mabee. Their total request was $6,389.35, not including the $2,600 Aramark is contributing to pay for some of the T-shirts. Senators brought up concerns about the number of T-shirts requested when many are already covered by Aramark, and Senator Tinker mentioned SGA does not fund T-shirts.

Senator Waters motioned to partially fund LNY the amount of $4,479.35, taking out what would be SAF-funded T-shirts. Senator Mustafa seconded the motion, and with one no and one abstention, the motion was passed.

Officer updates:

Senator Phillips reported that the constitutional review committee will not physically meet, but will give a seven-day notice of official changes next week.