FAB votes to restrict organization’s access to ice sculptures

SGA+Executive+Treasurer+Abigail+Semple.

Media: Chris Van Buskirk

SGA Executive Treasurer Abigail Semple.

By Dana Gerber, Deputy News Editor

The Financial Advisory Board unanimously voted to require “advanced permission” for student organizations to purchase ice sculptures at their Thursday meeting.

The advanced permission designation means ice sculptures will require special approval from the Student Government Association’s Executive Treasurer before student organizations can appeal to the FAB for their reimbursement. Previously, organizations could receive reimbursements for ice sculptures without this approval. Other items listed in the SGA treasury handbook that require advanced permission include bottled water, door prizes, and any items with rush charges.

“Oftentimes when we’re purchasing decor, it has a life after itself,” SGA Executive Treasurer Abigail Semple said during the FAB meeting. “Ice sculptures are just fancy water.”

Organizations will now have to receive advanced permission to purchase all ice sculptures, whether they go through the appeal process or pull it from previously allocated funds. In an interview with The Beacon following Thursday’s meeting, Semple said that only one student organization purchased an ice sculpture last semester.

“It really made us think ‘why do we exist?'” Semple said. “Why does this money exist? Where does this money go? Students want to know that their money is being spent responsibly.”

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The decision comes alongside an effort from Semple to change SGA’s Treasury Handbook to limit student organizations’ spending on items deemed “excessive,” or any items that fall outside of an organization’s constitutionally-outlined purpose. Semple said her specific concern with ice sculptures is with their impermanence.

“It’s not that we don’t want to have nice things—it’s that we want to have nice things that aren’t temporally bound,” she said.

For the first time in this academic year five FAB voting members were present at Thursday’s meeting with Class of 2023 President Ariane Ivanier, Executive Vice President Melissa Bordelon, 2021 Class Representative Hannah Flaherty, Class of 2020 Vice President Connor McNinch, and Class of 2022 President Cassie Shelley. Each of the voting members voted in favor of the purchase limitation.

A vote on the new limitation was initially scheduled for last Thursday but was delayed after FAB failed to reach quorum, defined in SGA’s constitution as two-thirds of their voting membership.

Semple said she hopes this vote will encourage the college to change their own unnecessary spending habits, including ice sculpture purchases.

“We as the students kind of set an example for the college at large,” she said. “We don’t need fancy ice. We need more support in other areas.”

Thursday’s meeting also included discussions on revising FAB’s annual budget request procedure that SGA-affiliated organizations must go through in order to receive SGA funding. Semple proposed that the form change from its current format, which organizes budgetary requests by the priority of the item, to a format of three tiers: needs, wants, and dreams.

A discussion on the proposed Financial Equity Board, which would hear students’ financial issues, was on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting but was not addressed. The Financial Equity Board will need to be approved by Joint Session.

Correction 1/24: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that student organizations could purchase ice sculptures without advanced permissions by using previously allocated funds. This has been corrected.

Correction 1/24: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that FAB would vote on the Financial Equity Board. This has been clarified.