The USD Student Government Association (SGA) hosted Jessica Preister and Jared Heiden of university financial services at this Tuesday’s meeting. SGA also passed a resolution encouraging the South Dakota Board of Regents to cancel classes on future federal election days and introduced a resolution regarding the Green Initiative Fund.
Preister, Assistant VP at USD Financial Affairs, said the university is looking to save money where possible due to a reduction in enrollment in the wake of COVID-19.
“With a decline in enrollment, we did see a need to identify some savings on the GAF (General Activity Fee) fund that would be available to revert,” Preister said.
Overall, the university is looking to cut expenses by almost half a million. Heiden, director of budget at USD Financial Services, said the university isn’t looking to reduce employment expenses, so the department has turned to organizations that might be seeing lower operating costs.
“We’ve started to reach out to the areas that might have savings as a result of COVID shifting things up,” Heiden said.
SGA passed Senate Resolution 5, to support the cancellation of all classes and labs at South Dakota Board of Regents universities on all future federal election days. The resolution was amended from a previous version which was specifically about the upcoming presidential election. Senator Addison Miller, who introduced the resolution, said he believes the move would help students have adequate time to vote.
“Even with COVID this year, I do believe that there will still be a solid percentage of individuals who will go out to the polls and vote in-person,” Miller said.
Senator Carter Linke, who raised concerns about the resolution’s limited scope when it was introduced, said he supports it being made into a call for a continuing policy.
“This last meeting I spoke out against this bill, but I really support the changes that were made to it,” Linke said. “Just so this is a continuous thing and people can plan accordingly in advance on how they’re going to vote.”
Senator Jacob Holmberg introduced Senate Resolution 7, to encourage the USD Sustainability Committee to adopt the Green Initiative Fund guidelines. The resolution is tied into Senate Bill 63, which moves the fund from SGA to the committee. The guidelines regard the process of deciding applicant recommendations. SGA President Abuk Jiel clarified that the committee would not be given control over SGA funds.
“The senators on that committee would be the only ones able to vote on our SGA funds being allocated to that said group or person,” Jiel said. “Having them on the university sustainability committee just allows them to get more access to students.”