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TSG Senate resolves to fight Pa. act, votes down allocations

At a meeting Monday, the TSG Senate debated on whether to award additional conference funding to the Asian Student Association and resolved to oppose Pennsylvania’s Tuition Relief Act.

Conflict over allocations arose at the Temple Student Government Senate meeting when representatives from the Asian Student Association presented their case to get more funding.

Student ASA representatives Paul Tran, Vi Dan and David Loi spoke during the meeting about their need for funding for the East Coast Asian Student Union conference. They planned to attend this conference four months ago.

For the past three years, ASA has attended ECASU as one of its big programs for the year. Every year more than 5,000 students from different universities on the East Coast attend. It is a way for students to gain leadership skills, meet people and spread Asian awareness. ASA was allocated $500 to attend the conference, but needs $2,000 to cover the costs.

“This is really a difficult decision for the committee,” Sen. Gaelle Amazan, chair of the Allocations Committee, said. “We really want to fund this group, but we have to take into consideration the other organizations.”

In the past, the Allocations Committee only gave $500 to each student organization that needed funding for conferences. Since the committee funds only this amount for all the other groups, they originally said they felt unfair making an exception for ASA.

In previous years, ASA obtained additional funding from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Admissions. Due to budget cuts, the group did not receive the full amount needed from these offices. The members went to the department of Asian Studies, but still fell short.

They needed additional funding for the registration fees.

“This trip cannot be possible if we don’t get this funding,” Tran said.

After hearing about the importance of the conference from Dan, Tran, and Loi, the senators debated at length about whether they should amend the bill.

Some senators said since the group came to the meeting to debate their case, it showed the importance of the conference and its need for funding.

Sen. Alex Barnett countered that it was unfair to blindside other groups just because they did not come to speak at the meetings.

The senators continued to question whether the conference should be considered an off-campus event rather than a conference. If considered an off-campus event, it would receive funding.

But Amazan said if all conferences were considered off-campus events, there would be major funding problems.

Chief Justice Alex Herrera reminded the senators that if they agreed to fund this group, they would be opening the gates for other organizations to petition for extra conference funding. Organizations would be able to use this decision as a precedent and could file grievances.

“I just want to remind everyone that the action that we take this afternoon will have an effect,” Senate President Jeff Dempsey said.

The motion to amend the bill was not passed. Eleven people voted for it, two opposed and six abstained. The motion needed one more vote to pass.

Amazan encouraged all student organization members to attend the Senate meetings if they had a problem with their allocations. She is currently setting up a taskforce for people to brainstorm about possible changes to the guidelines.

“Allocations reform is coming,” Dempsey said. “We need to make change the reality.”
Discussion did not end with allocations, though. It continued when Student Body President Nadine Mompremier introduced a resolution supporting Temple University’s opposition to the Tuition Relief Act.

College of Liberal Arts Sen. Kylie Patterson sponsored the resolution, which states that TSG and the student body will fight the current proposal that exempts Temple University from the Tuition Relief Act.

The university has faced budget cuts, but will not receive any tuition relief from the state because it is considered a state-related school.

“If you’re going to cut our budget then you should provide relief to our students,” Mompremier said.

She also said that TSG plans to send a petition asking for Temple to be included in the act and will protest in Harrisburg if necessary.

TSG will also hold a rally at the Bell Tower Feb. 23 at 11:30 a.m.

“It is not something that we talk about and it slips under the table,” Mompremier said. “This is something that we can do something about.”

Rebecca Hale can be reached at rebecca.hale@temple.edu.

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