Photo Credit: Syd Bickers
Caption: Stephen Feryus and Emma Rees play “Find the Cash.” Photo by Syd Bickers
By: Syd Bickers
The Student Government Association was prompted to crack open its constitution when two senior fine arts students submitted individual proposals asking SGA for financial help with their art shows.
SGA Parliamentarian Nathan Rodda individually gave fine arts students Cara Brackins and Emma Rees bill outlines to petition for funds to help with their senior art shows. The students were not given copies of the constitution, as Rodda said that was not practiced.
The constitution states: “To be eligible for Organizational Assistant Fund grants, the organization must be recognized by the Office of Student Development.” The two students were not petitioning on behalf of an organization.
“I assumed they were individuals because they were coming for help on their individual shows,” said Rodda.
When asked if he knew that the constitution only allowed recognized organizations to petition for funds Rodda said, “I wasn’t.”
Brackins submitted a proposal for her March 18 show on Jan. 12. She asked for the maximum award of $200. Rees, whose show is Feb. 26, submitted a similar proposal on Jan. 15.
The proposals included what items would be purchased with the money, the cost and place of purchase.
Only Brackins was scheduled to present her proposal before SGA Jan. 26 and both Brackins and Rees were to present Feb. 2 and Feb. 9. They were notified before each meeting and were told they could not present because SGA was still studying the process of awarding grants.
“It’s been a learning process,” said Rodda
SGA Vice President of Executive Council Danica Collins said the council looks to the constitution for guidance on each bill. This time they found the excerpt in the constitution that states only organizations can receive funds. The bills were not passed.
SGA member Brittany Shaffer said the council dug into the constitution when it realized seven students could potentially petition.
SGA President Shannon Slaughter and Rodda met with the fine art students in Alice Anthony’s history of photography class and advised the students to form a club on Feb 8.
“If we would have given (them as individuals) money it would have opened Pandora’s box,” said Rodda.
The Fine Arts Senior Show Association was created to follow procedure and member Brackins was chosen to write the group proposal.
“I wanted a really outrageous, cynical name,” said group member Stephen Feryus when asked about the club’s title.
Brackins and Rees expressed frustration.
“They screwed up the system,” said Rees.
“We were told we could get a certain amount of money for SGA,” said Brackins. She could not remember who gave her that idea.
The group includes seven graduating fine arts seniors who will be hosting a show this semester and want to receive aid: Brackins, Rees, Feryus, Kayla Hatcher, Kelsey Ellis, Morgan Simmons and Brennan Tracey.
Senior art shows are required for completion of the Milligan fine arts program. However, the cost is not included in tuition.
“It wouldn’t be unheard of to spend $300 to $400 (on a show),” said Alice Anthony, associate professor of art.
“My frames alone cost $700,” said Rees.
SGA’s General Assistance Fund totaled $1,407 at the Feb. 16 meeting. That total divided by the seven members of the Senior Show Association students would be $201 per person.
The club proposal has not been submitted and Brackins is unsure of the amount she will write in the proposal. The amount must be chosen wisely, as the constitution allows for only one proposal from each club per semester said SGA President Shannon Slaughter.
“I am interested to see how much they actually ask for,” said Slaughter. “Be frugal.”
SGA plans to provide funding for the art show advertising and food, as both benefit Milligan by engaging the community. However, the majority of the expense is framing and matting.
“It’s hard being a broke college student,” said Feryus. “We’re just asking for a little bit of help that’s curricular.”