Student Government: 2018-19 budget deemed ‘unconstitutional’

Jupiter campus senators challenged the University Wide Senate and its President Kyle MacDonald, who voted to pass the budget.

Photo courtesy of Student Government

Photo courtesy of Student Government

Benjamin Paley, Alexander Rodriguez

Editor’s note | Feb. 14, 2018: A previous version of this story contained the headline: “Jupiter senators allege 2018-19 budget is ‘unconstitutional’” It has been updated to reflect the Student Government Court’s ruling.

The Student Government Court justices heard from three Jupiter campus senators challenging the University-Wide Budget and Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget Monday evening.

Senators Shannon Bieniek, Nicholas Tyndall, and Cody Steed claim UBAC budgeted for a non-existent Student Government entity, which they said violates SG statutes.

UBAC’s 2018-19 proposed budget would turn the Boca campus Program Board into a university-wide board and ultimately phase out the Davie and Jupiter campus’ board. The SG student-run program is responsible for organizing events on campus.  

“These statutes however, do not give the Senate or the UBAC any authority to budget for non-existent SG entities,” the senators wrote in their petition. “For these reasons, we ask that SGSSSB 1805 [UBAC’s budget] be declared unconstitutional.”

The petition challenges student body Vice President Kyle MacDonald and the University Wide Senate, which voted Jan. 25 to approve the budget. As vice president, MacDonald is the president of the Senate. 

MacDonald maintains that UBAC isn’t creating a new SG program, it’s modifying Program Board’s existing “funding structure.” 

“The bill in question does not violate any University policy or State policies,” MacDonald wrote in his response to the petition. “The petitioners voted no on the legislation and may not be happy with the passing of the legislation, however it does not mean that statutes are being violated.”

The Student Court justices asked and answered four questions before voting on the petition.

  1. Is the university-wide Program Board a new entity or just a structural adjustment?
    • A new entity
  2. Does UBAC have the authority to modify a SG program?
    • No
  3. Does UBAC have the ability to create a new SG entity?
    • No
  4. Is the 2018-19 budget unconstitutional?
    • Yes

After the justices stated their positions, the court voted 4-0 in favor of the Jupiter senators’ petition.

UBAC’s budget will now head back to the SG Senate for rewrite and reconsideration.

Benjamin Paley is the distribution manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

Alexander Rodriguez is the news editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet @AARodriguezz93.