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SOBB control bill back on the table

April 7th, 2011

After further discussion at the Student Union meeting this past Tuesday, the proposal concerning the modification to the Student Organization Budget Board (SOBB) has been pushed back another week. This week, former VP of Business Affairs and current junior Senator Michael Fox proposed an amendment to the motion called the “sunset clause” that was discussed. However, the entirety of the motion and the amendment Fox proposed was postponed until next Tuesday.

Fox’s “sunset clause” proposed that the changes to the SOBB would be done on a temporary basis, lasting from September 2011 until Oct. 31. The SOBB modification that Fox wants to set a trial time for would be to move SOBB from the duty of the vice president for student organizations to the vice president for business affairs.

Student Union President Rita Rochford, a junior, noted that just because this modification has been proposed doesn’t mean it will be changed. “We don’t have the ‘sunset clause’ in [the bill] and we haven’t even voted on whether or not we’d accept that, because that’s kind of just a workshop,” she said. “It’s a discussion on how to improve the decisions.”

VP for Student Organizations Peter Hayden said the SOBB transfer bill has the potential to allow Student Union to increase efficiency for JCU’s student organizations by placing all of the finances into one position instead of the current two positions in which they currently reside.

“[It also] would allow the vice president for student organizations to use this time to work side-by-side with organizations that are struggling with leadership, programming and to help improve relations with the administration,” said Hayden.

While it does seem like the Student Union is at a standstill on the issue, Rochford is certain that the talks that have been held during recent meetings are making progress on the issue.

“I do think it is going somewhere because the discussions have generated a lot of positive solutions, either in addition [to] or in place of this amendment,” said Rochford. “Even though we haven’t gotten a concrete consensus yet, we’ve generated a lot of great ideas that we can further look into.”

Hayden sees the proposed clause as having the potential to be successful, if it were extended from Sept. 1, 2011 to Nov. 1, 2011 to give a “better sense in how it is being implemented.” He said the important issue is the unanimous vote by campus organizations this past March to transfer the SOBB over to the vice president for business affairs.

“When 50 plus organizations can come together to vote in favor of this idea with no one dissenting, that sends a significant message,” he said.

Hayden said he is willing to compromise to have successful reform.

Much like Hayden, Rochford stresses compromising as well as the Student Union’s ultimate goal. She hopes the discussion of the changes that might be made will figure out how to compromise and help the student body at the same time. The proposal is meant to improve the efficiency between the positions of VP for student organizations and VP for business affairs. One advantage of passing the amendment to modify SOBB is that it could make the process of requesting money and then being reimbursed more efficient, according to Rochford. Still, she is not sold on any one thing at this point.

“I’d like to continue to lead the discussion and have the senators talk to their constituents and the student organizations to come up with what they want,” she said. “My job is just to facilitate, and I would just like to support the discussion and I think there’s a lot of positive solutions that have been proposed.”