Students share concern about USG budget

Matt Poe

A pair of students addressed concerns over Undergraduate Student Government’s operating budget Wednesday night at its biweekly public meeting.

During the public contributions portion of the meeting, Bryan Staul and Dillon Lloyd read aloud from USG’s 2014-15 budget report, which was recorded at $193,998. The duo questioned the “vague” aspects of the budget, where the money is being spent and called for an audit of the budget.

Staul, a senior and former Senator at Large for USG, spoke about his concerns over USG’s effectiveness during his time at Kent State.

“They’ve become considerably less effective,” Staul said. “USG has had a market decline in its effectiveness. It has declined but its budget has gone up and involvement has gone down. Student population keeps going up. Logically, turnout should go up instead of declining repeatedly.”

Aside from the operating budget, one of the major issues both Staul and Lloyd addressed was the low voter turnout during USG’s recent elections. Kent State’s official website lists the undergraduate and graduate student population at 22,000 and 5,500, respectively. The unofficial number of students who voted in USG’s elections was just under 1,100.

“You have almost $200,000 for a budget and voter turnout is right around 1,000 students. On a campus the size of Kent State that’s growing every year, it shows that something’s off,” Lloyd, a senior and member of College Republicans, said.

“We’re not accusing them of anything inappropriate, but they’re not crazy questions to be asked.”

The address lasted more than 20 minutes and numerous members of the board responded to the questions. Marvin Logan, Executive Director of USG, said the questions were something that groups have done regularly.

“For what it’s worth, it’s something that particular groups which those students have been a part of have continued to do regularly and it’s ok for people to question the budget,” Logan said.

“However, I do think it is tiring when the same students ask the same questions and have been given the same answers. Something that I’m focusing on for our transition period is doing a better job of documenting everything so that we have a better paper trail.”

While the address was aimed toward the budget and USG’s usage of it, both Staul and Lloyd stated their address wasn’t meant to bash student government itself and believe it has a major role for students.

“We believe in student government,” Lloyd said. “Students deserve to be represented on campus without a doubt. I can’t say (USG has) done absolutely nothing, but obviously they’re not doing as much as you’d hope they would with the amount of money and resources they have.”

The full operating budget report can be found here on USG’s website.

Contact Matt Poe at [email protected].