SG branches at odds over funding for safe-sex week

Members of Student Government’s legislative and executive branches disagreed over who should fund a safe-sex-awareness week at last night’s full Senate meeting.

A Senate special project sponsored by Sen. Jackie Colgate requested $350 to fund a sexual-responsibility week to take place next semester. The organization holding the event is the Campus Outreach Cabinet, which is part of SG’s executive branch.

Although some senators said the executive branch should pay for the request with its own funding instead of going through the Senate, the request eventually passed by a 17-10 margin.

The event, Keep It Safe Sexually, is a weeklong series in the spring aiming to educate students and encourage them to practice safe sex, said cabinet chair Ryan Mueller.

The project was presented at the last Appropriations and Revenue Committee meeting, which was before Thanksgiving break. According to the legislation, it was first tabled, then passed with no recommendation. A&R Chairman Jesse Parrish said A&R funds are meant for student organizations, and the executive branch should fund this event since the request is coming from an executive cabinet.

“There’s a $6,000 surplus in (the executive) fund, so why can’t they spend money on their own cabinets instead of spending student money?” Parrish said. “It’s a great event that needs to happen, but let’s not short student organizations here.”

Executive Cabinet Secretary Madison Young said the reason the cabinet came to the Senate for the money was that it wanted senators to be involved with the event.

“We want (senators) to go the event and back it up, just like any other Senate special project,” Young said. “All the money comes from the same place, so why not fund it?”

SG Vice President Brittany Langdon said this was not a case of the executive branch refusing to pay for KISS week, but that it is the type of event that the Senate would normally fund.

“We never declined to pay it — we wanted it to go through the Senate so senators would show an interest,” Langdon said. “Senate special project (money) goes toward events. That is what they are there for.”

The possibility of having to deny a student organization money later in the year because of this funding request is something that Parrish said concerned him, even though he said the event itself was a great idea.

“It’s a great event; there is no questioning that,” Parrish said. “All I thought is that the executive branch should pay for it. Basically, the executive branch took $350 away from student organizations.”

Colgate said the Senate shouldn’t deny funding for KISS week just because the requesting group was an executive cabinet.

“Safe sex is something that deals with every college student on campus,” Colgate said. “We can’t just let this event go to the wayside because the (executive branch) didn’t pick it up.”

Two other pieces of legislation passed, both with unanimous consent. One was a budget amendment that approved the continuation of executive staff salaries for the spring semester. The five staff members’ salaries were approved to remain at an equal rate to that of this semester. The press secretary position was eliminated, and the historian will no longer receive a stipend.

The other resolution commended those involved with the National Conference on Graduate and Student Leadership, which UK co-hosted. Sen. Mary Bosserman sponsored the resolution and said the conference was “flawlessly run.”