Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story featured an incorrect spelling of Sen. Holly Gallegos' name. The Daily Lobo sincerely apologizes for this error.
Finance Committee meetings are rarely exciting events. However, Wednesday night’s Associated Students of the University of New Mexico Finance Committee meeting featured an a cappella performance, a remote controlled car and a noise complaint.
In all, $24,359 in 11 appropriations were sent up for vote by Full Senate next Wednesday. Two club sports, Lobo Hockey and Men’s Rugby, comprised a little more than $14,000 of that total.
Lobo Hockey was approved for $5,033. The appropriation is for travel costs to attend away games. Like Lobo Hockey, Men’s Rugby was approved for $9,690 to cover costs associated with travel to away games.
Sen. Nick Morgan commended what he saw as the Men’s Rugby Club consistently well-written appropriations, adding that it was a “shame they couldn’t be recognized by the Athletics Department.”
Something Major A Cappella, a student group of a cappella singers, sang a rendition of Bella Mama to introduce their appropriation request. The group was approved for $2,133, around $200 less than they requested.
SCRAP Productions was approved for $639 to pay for supplies for putting on their production of the “Bachelorette” in the Experimental Theater.
Health Occupation Student Association (HOSA) requested $770 for conference fees. However, the group was approved for $387. Morgan said the reduction came as a result of an error in the finance standing rules. Morgan added that HOSA should expect to receive more in full senate once the standing rules were amended.
Ben Blanco and Cassidy Le said they were expecting to have their appropriation to be reduced after receiving an email from their sponsoring senator, Mohammed Jaber.
Student Organization for Latin American Studies (SOLAS) was approved for $503 for the rights to screen the movie the “El Monte” for an event hosted at The Guild. The groups representative, Estevan Pakozdi, told the Finance Committee that the Graduate and Professional Student Alliance had given them funding for four other movie rights.
That appropriation hearing was interrupted when Finance Chair Holly Gallegos called a recess in the middle of the hearing. Morgan then walked across the hall to ask the room to quiet down. Morgan returned to that room twice more. Vice President Emily Wilks also went to the other room for the same purpose after Student Government Accounting Office supervisor Joanna Garcia did the same.
The room was being occupied by members of Phi Delta Theta hosting a rush event, according to a man who was a part of the group and said his name was Frank and declined to give a last name.
SOLAS also ran into questions regarding whether members of the group received extra credit for attending the event. Pakozdi said they would if they were part of certain Spanish or Portuguese classes.
In Fall 2018, ASUNM passed legislation prohibiting funding for projects that earned credit. Garcia said that SOLAS was not violating that rule because it was “not part of (their) curriculum.”
Association for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility was approved for $428 for a computer, a printer and to cover some cost associated with an upcoming event. The groups representative said the club needed the computer for members to share in an app development project.
Delta Sigma Pi was approved for $869. The group requested the appropriation to cover travel cost for a conference. Another non-traditional Greek organization, Kappa Kappa Psi, was approved for $1,629 for similar purposes.
American Institute for Chemical Engineering was approved for $503. The group wanted the money to build a small, motorized “boxcar” from Legos. One of the representatives demonstrated a prototype of the car running across the presenters’ table.
Circle K International, a charity organization, was approved for $2,545 to attend a conference in Arizona.
After the hearing, President of Men’s Rugby Sean Summer said they “hadn’t bothered” with going through the Athletics Department for funding since being rejected in 2017.
In Steering & Rules, a bill that would grant the Attorney General the power to edit the Lawbook for grammar mistakes without requiring the approval of the Senate was approved by the committee. Instead, the President, Vice President and UNM legal counsel would oversee and approve the change.
Attorney General Emily Hartshorn has previously expressed her support for the oxford comma. The bill — which she sponsored — featured the controversial punctuation, listing “President, Vice President, and UNM Legal Counsel.”
Justin Garcia is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers ASUNM. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc.