At this week’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, the body received feedback on the university administration’s efforts to install an “Opportunity Center” at USD’s Center for Diversity and Community (CDC). SGA also considered two new bills, one to allocate special appropriations funds to the First-Generation Student Organization and a second to increase transparency on SGA’s allocation of funds.
Representatives from Spectrum, an LGBT+ organization on campus, including advisor Judas Holmberg, organization president Isabel Young, vice president Emma Prouty and co-secretary Beanie Luttig offered feedback on the listening session held Tuesday regarding the planned Opportunity Center.
Since the representatives from Spectrum arrived after a designated student feedback time, SGA voted unanimously to suspend the rules and return to student feedback.
Concerns raised included whether groups who received funding through the CDC would have their funding impacted by the installation of the Opportunity Center. Luttig, who transferred from Saint Anselm College, raised concerns about the move limiting resources.
“We need spaces on campus for people of every background, I understand that,” Luttig said. “It really bugs me that I came from a Catholic institution, and I’ve gone into the Midwest and find out that not only am I lacking resources on campus, but we also have legislation outside of that that are affecting us.”
Holmberg also took issue with the presence of an opportunity center in the CDC, which would be an intrusion into a space he said is meant for students.
“Having the ‘Opportunity for All’ Center occupy an office in the CDC would, by assumption, take the office previously occupied by the director, which is the biggest office, and therefore, kind of taking a chunk of space that’s meant to be for the students for something that wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place,” Holmberg said. “And then feeling like Big Brother is watching you to make sure you aren’t being diverse.”
SGA considered Senate Bill 66, a special appropriation request for the First-Generation Student Organization (FGSO), an organization for students who are the first in their family to go to college. Senator Carter Linke took questions from SGA on the bill.
“I’m a first generation college student and I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish while I’m at college,” Linke said. “And I just wanted to kind of be that stepping stone to help other students get there too.”
SGA also considered Senate Bill 67, to increase the financial transparency of SGA. The bill requires SGA’s director of finance to provide an accessible public record of all current SGA funds, to be updated no later than 24 hours prior to SGA meetings. The bill, introduced by SGA Senator Braden Bury, also requires the director to maintain an accessible historic record of funds.
“I highly advocate for SGA to support this bill, as it fundamentally increases the financial transparency of the Student Government Association, which benefits all students on campus,” Bury said.