USG finalizes budget allocations, department nominations

Laptop screen open to USG meeting held on Zoom. The screen shows the meeting's agenda.
The Undergraduate Student Government Senate also confirmed a legislative special committee dedicated to the transition to in-person campus life and other coronavirus-related issues. (Nayeon Ryu | Daily Trojan)

The Undergraduate Student Government approved budget allocations and finalized student nominations at their final meeting of the spring semester Tuesday.  

Chief Financial Officer Adenike Makinde introduced the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget last week, which included increasing the student programming fee back to $64. With the increase, the budget created two more funds, consisting of an accessibility fund and a green engagement fund.

Amendments to the budget presented to the Senate during Tuesday’s meeting reflected the correct amount of funds allocated to each section. 

Amendments approved by the Senate included an increase to the amount of student stipends by $9,200, while decreasing the amounts for staff salaries, USG executive board office and operation funds allocations and legislative and executive allocations. Sen. Ruben Romeo III made such amendments. 

Sen. Brian Stowe also began the discussion of the 2021-22 fiscal year budget allocations by asking why certain programming assemblies received more money than other student assemblies. Other members, such as President Alexis Areias and Speaker of the Senate Ruben Romeo III, responded by recognizing that such assemblies often have talks with the budget committee beforehand about requested funds and that funding is received at the discretion of such assemblies.

Before the amendments to the budget allocations were made, Vice President Lucy Warren began the confirmation of student nominees with the six associate justice nominations for the Judicial Council. The Senate approved the nominations unanimously. 

The Senate also confirmed the selections of three more assistant directors under the funding department — the USG sector that provides “fiscal support and resources to various recognized student organizations and undergraduate students.”

Appointments for the communications department were also confirmed. The department holders will oversee tasks, such as facilitating communication between USG and the student body and ensure information, such as governing documents, are accessible on the USG website.

The Senate also confirmed Katelyn Lee, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, as the senior executive aide. In addition to her duties as student executive aide to the president and vice president, she will lead a legislative special committee to support all student affairs and advocacy regarding the coronavirus and USC operations in the transition to an in-personsemester. 

The establishment of the committee was approved by the Senate unanimously. Romeo, one of the co-authors of the resolution, expressed excitement about the resolution’s passing.

“I think that this is just a continuation of focus efforts towards COVID-19,” said Romeo in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “President Areias and Vice President Warren wanted to put an explicit specific unit to consistently be adamant about these efforts.” 

At the end of the meeting, President Areias and Vice President Warren introduced the 2021-22 Office Policy Manual, which dictates the rules and guidelines that all members of the Senate must follow next school year, which include proper use of electronic equipment and maintaining satisfactory academic progress. The policy also premised such rules and guidelines on the possibility of students returning back to campus. 

While members of USG will not operate in their full capacity over the summer, the coronavirus task force special committee and legislative branch committees may meet occasionally over the summer to ensure operations are running properly before the fall.