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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Senate rejects, 26 to 21, SSFAB proposals

A divided Student Senate rejected the Student Service Fee Advisory Board’s (SSFAB) Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 recommendations by a vote of 26 to 21, with five abstaining their votes. The Wednesday night meeting garnered a record turnout of constituents.
“This is a big decision and something we have spent a lot of time working on,” said SSFAB Chairman and senior political science major Jim Carlson. “Our recommendation stands as it is before you now.”
The Senate votes annually on whether to endorse SSFAB’s recommendations to the vice president of Student Affairs (VPSA). The failed vote means that Speaker of the Senate Logan Renfrow will write a dissenting opinion in a letter to Vice President of Student Affairs Dean Bresciani, outlining the major arguments as to why the Senate voted to reject the recommendations.
One of the major reasons cited for the rejection of the endorsement was that the recommendations landed exactly on the state-mandated $150 cap and that several departments and programs did not receive funding for any of their increase requests.
“I think (the) SSFAB went into (its) deliberations knowing that students would not once again pass a referendum to exceed the cap,” said Sen. Will Dugat, from the College of Geosciences.
Carlson and members of SSFAB disagree with Dugat’s assessment.
“Knowing that, and knowing that those two referendums have failed, this board has been very conservative in the numbers that we’ve passed and the different requests that we passed,” Carlson said. “It was fortunate that we went through each individual increase (request) and gave them all equal opportunity, and where we stood is reflected in our recommendations.”
Many senators, including Dugat, have privately questioned SSFAB landing exactly on the cap, as several programs did not have a single increase request approved, including the MSC, Student Financial Aid, the Child Care center and Aggie Nights, proposals that totaled $389,831.
“While the board has worked hard to keep the student services fee under the cap, it is at least questionable that some requests were granted, while other requests were not without totaling the numbers to stay under the cap,” Renfrow said.
At the Senate’s Oct. 20 meeting, Dugat questioned Carlson as to whether SSFAB considered an increase over the cap.
“From my perspective as the chairman, if we had gone over the cap, it would have been something that I would have brought up if I felt it would have been very important to the board to put into consideration in the final recommendations,” Carlson said. “But the way it stood with this recommendation, we didn’t have to do that.”
Dugat said that he felt SSFAB had not given each request equal opportunity.
“Whenever you are working within the constraints of a predetermined budget it is difficult to give every single request the necessary opportunity that it deserves,” Dugat said. “If you’re going in with prejudices, such as staying under the cap, how can you expect yourself to be fair? From the statements made by Chairman Carlson, I am not convinced that SSFAB went in to deliberations in an unbiased manner.”
No date has been set for Bresciani’s decision.

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