Over 50 students attended Monday's Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, where the  Legislature conducted an open forum discussion about a resolution concerning the app Yik Yak. Photo by Rupsha Basu/News Editor.

 Photo by Rupsha Basu, News Editor

By Luke White

Contributing Writer

The 48th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) passed three bills yesterday to assist with the funding for several activities, including the Indian Cultural Exchange’s (ICE) Diwali 2014 celebration, the Emory Entrepreneurship and Venture Management’s (EEVM) hackATL event and the airport shuttles reserved for students on the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving.

In a bill submitted by the Co-Presidents of ICE, College junior Adit Ghad and College junior Armaan Nathani, the organization requested that SGA provide $2,500 of the projected $34,103.94 needed to fund this year’s Diwali event, scheduled for Nov. 14.

After reviewing ICE’s proposal, the SGA Finance Committee, headed by College senior Patrick O’Leary, recommended that SGA instead allocate $1,250 to the Diwali celebration and further stipulated that another $750 be provided if ICE allows for at least 50 students from Emory’s graduate schools to attend.

Following a period of debate, Goizueta Business School senior Jaanki Patel proposed an amendment that would guarantee the additional $750 if ICE could ensure the attendance of at least 25 total students from Emory’s graduate schools, along with an initial, unconditional amount of $1,250.

Additionally, the amendment would require ICE to better advertise their Diwali event to graduate school students next year. Both Patel’s amendment and the bill providing supplementary funding for Diwali passed by a unanimous vote.

Another bill requesting supplementary funding, this time for EEVM’s hackATL event that will be held from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9 on Emory’s campus, sought $2,000 of the $51,041.68 required to hold the event. The Finance Committee recommended that EEVM be funded $1,000 with an additional $1,000 available if at least 600 Emory students swipe in attendance via a card-reader.

College senior and SGA College-wide Representative Aaron Tucek asked why the event was free for non-Emory students.

A representative from EEVM explained that hackATL was organized to inspire entrepreneurship and innovation at Emory. Given the technical expertise of students from the Georgia Institute of Technology, for example, there were considerable merits to encouraging a collaboration between Emory and other regional institutions.

Subsequently, SGA members voted to amend the bill to provide the full $2,000 funding to EEVM, and both the amendment and the bill passed by a 19-1-0 vote.

The Campus Services Committee submitted a bill requesting $1,500 from SGA in order to reserve shuttles for the purpose of delivering Emory students to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving.

Last year, SGA allocated $3,000 to book airport shuttles for both the Tuesday and the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving.

This year, however, the Emory College Council (CC) is financing the shuttles on Tuesday, so SGA only needed to give half of the total funds.

The Finance Committee voted unanimously to guarantee the full $1,500 funding for the Wednesday shuttles, and SGA followed suit by passing the bill through a unanimous vote as well.

A bill authored by Elections Board Chair and College junior Reuben Lack sought funding of up to $700 for the developer of Emory’s online ballot system to conduct performance tuning in order to improve the application’s functioning and speed.

Lack said the voting application, which often takes between one and two minutes to load individual ballots, could deter students from participating in the voting process.

Lack mentioned that the developer could not guarantee improvements in the performance of the application, but he noted that there was a “good chance” that it would function better and that the Election Board’s staff contact had approved the idea.

The Finance Committee voted 0-4-4 against the bill, and O’Leary explained that half of the members thought that $700 did not represent a prudent use of SGA money since the Finance Committee had approved a $3,300 expenditure on the application just last year.

Meanwhile, the other half of the committee wished to table the bill until the Task Force on Technology Review had an opportunity to investigate the application.

It was unclear whether the Task Force on Technology Review would be able to give its recommendation on the application in time for the developer to do performance tuning by the Spring 2015 elections.

Thus, many SGA members agreed that rather than spending $700 dollars to improve the application’s performance, SGA ought to save the money and consider looking into a long-term replacement.

The bill was then rejected by a 1-13-7 vote.

In addition to voting on the multiple funding bills, SGA also voted to approve the nominations of five students to administrative positions.

SGA President and College junior Jon Darby nominated College sophomore James Cahill for vice chair of the Emory Elections Board; College junior Caitlin Brennan for treasurer of the Emory Elections Board and Goizueta Business School junior Jenny Kwon for Elections Board University-wide commissioner.

Darby also nominated College freshmen Dami Kim as assistant vice president for Communications and Justine Schoenbart as associate vice president for Communications. (Kim is a Wheel digital staff member) SGA confirmed all their positions with a unanimous vote.

– Contact Luke White at [email protected]