SGA denies line-item status to four campus groups

by Rob Stewart

On March 29, the Student Government Association reviewed Alpha Psi Omega, First Year Council, LGBTQA, Religious Life Community, Sequel and Students In Free Enterprise for line-item status. During line-item status meetings, campus organizations appeal to SGA for guaranteed allocation of funds for the next academic year.

According to Student Body President Dan Carver, four criteria must be met for a group to receive line-item status. The group must be an active organization on campus for two years, have a campus-wide impact, the impact of the group must not already by provided by another line-item organization and must show practicality of being line-item status. Carver said the final requirement means the group must show a need for funds prior to the academic year.

Former line-item organization LGBTQA as well as first-time applicants SIFE, First Year Council and APO were denied line-item status.


According to SGA’s minutes, LGBTQA was denied line-item status by an 11-9 vote after a lengthy discussion, with time extended three times.

From fall 2004 to the current semester, LGBTQA was a line-item organization. Junior Class Senator Abby Eckert said it lost line-item status because the group could not prove a campus-wide impact or a need for funding prior to the beginning of the school year.

“My point was that every group on Simpson campus is trying to make a wide impact, it’s just that they’re not doing it,” Eckert said. “It’s nothing against the group, they’re doing an amazing job at what they’re doing, it’s just they’re not reaching to the status of line-item like CAB or Intramurals… groups like that.”

Sophomore Kelsey Hedrick, APO and LGBTQA treasurer, disagrees with Eckert.

“Well, they said it was because we didn’t have enough campus-wide impact, and because we didn’t have enough need for financing at the beginning of the year,” Hedrick said. “I don’t believe that’s true, but I’m biased and I know that.”

Eckert said the group should have been denied two years ago when it was originally granted line-item status.

“Nothing [about the group changed],” Eckert said. “I didn’t think they should have been on it last year. They didn’t meet the qualifications last year either and that’s why we were fighting it [giving LGBTQA line-item status].”

According to Eckert, LGBTQA was put on line-item to avoid prejudice in previous senates.

“The reason they were put on line-item status [in ’04] was because there was a problem in the past where they couldn’t get funds previous to an event because people [senators] would argue whether they should have the funds or not because of what the group stands for, and that’s not what it’s about at all,” Eckert said.

Though Eckert is pleased with both the process and the final decisions, she admitted there were personal biases involved, both for and against, in the decision to deny LGBTQA line-item status.

“I do [think personal feelings played a role in the decision] and I don’t think that is good,” Eckert said. “That was my biggest point; I was trying to take that out of it. It’s not about our personal feelings. It’s about what our constituents and our classes think… that’s who we’re representing. I had talked to a few people in my class and they felt the way that I did and that’s why I was pulling for that [to deny LGBTQA].”

Eckert stressed a group’s denial doesn’t mean they won’t receive SGA funds.

“I want the student body to know that because we voted LGBTQA as non-line item does not mean that they are not getting funds,” Eckert said. “They are going to get funds. They are going to continue to get funds as well as every other group that didn’t get line-item status. It’s just that they have to come to the senate, and they can come to the senate multiple times a year…but they will still get funds.”

Hedrick said that nothing has changed about LGBTQA that would disqualify it for line-item status. She looks to SGA changes instead.

“Nothing in our group has changed from last year to this year,” Hedrick said. “The same amount of people, the same events. I think basically the senate’s minds just changed about us and about what we stand for. They brought up a few things about maybe we shouldn’t get status…for the sheer fact that we are a minority group. Which is fair, but I really didn’t think that last year we got status just because we were a minority group.”

Hedrick said LGBTQA’s funds will still come from SGA.

“We’ll have to ask senate for money every month to get all of our funding,” Eckert said. “We do fundraise a little, but we like our proceeds to go to the Central Iowa AIDS Project instead of back to us.”

LGBTQA has plans to apply for line-item status in the future.

“We’re going to do a lot of planning in the next couple of months to start out the year with events,” Hedrick said. “Maybe go to LAS classes and talk and make our presence known on campus. And make our financing really, really necessary. We’re also going to try to do a big event like the Drag Show in the fall to start out the year since that’s what we’re known for.”

Junior Class President Evan Schaefer disagrees with Eckert and Hedrick that personal biases played a role in the line-item process.

“The decision we made is not based on whether we believe in the group or not, it’s based solely upon those four questions,” Schaefer said. “We can argue all day long whether it is or whether it isn’t, but the reality is that we are making the decisions based on what our constituents want and if they meet the requirements and meet the rules. Since they did not, we did not feel they [LGBTQA] should be line-item status.”

Freshmen Class President Josie Rundlett agrees.

“I thought everybody was able to keep their personal biases out of it pretty far because that was something I was expecting a lot more of,” Rundlett said. “I think people definitely talked to their constituents and saw what they wanted. I think everyone can defend why they voted that way and that’s what’s most important. I think we held groups to the same standard. That was another thing I was worried about, that we’d be easier on a group because they were traditionally line-item and harder on a group that was trying to get it.”


According to the same minutes, SIFE was denied line-item status by a 14-5 vote. Schaefer said the group didn’t receive line-item status because it simply didn’t meet the established requirements.

“As a line-item group, you are required to meet certain areas and qualifications, and they specifically did not meet them,” Schaefer said. “One of those qualifications is needing funding at the beginning of the year, and having a campus-wide impact. We felt as a senate that they did not meet those requirements.”

Tom Schmidt, assistant professor of management and Sam Walton Fellow [faculty adviser to SIFE], was frustrated by the line-item experience but maintains it was a positive one as well.

“I think it can be a little frustrating in terms of you tend to take questions personal about your organization,” Schmidt said. “It’s hard to explain the good that you feel you’re doing to a point that you can build a following from the other people [SGA]. Was it a positive experience? Yes, I mean, we know better how to approach it next time, but I don’t think anybody likes to be told no. You have to hope it’s not personal and go on from there.”

Schmidt is reserving judgment on whether or not the denial will adversely affect the group.

“I think it makes it more difficult for us to do our job, but they also told us that we’re free to approach the senate for funding for individual events and we’ll have to see,” Schmidt said. “We haven’t done that in the past other than for our SIFE competition, so we will be approaching the senate a number of times in the fall for particular programs we’re going to try to put on. If we’re able to get our funding then, no, it didn’t hurt us. If we’re not able to get funding then, yes, it may hurt us.”

According to Schmidt, SIFE may try to apply for line-item status in the future.

“If things don’t change with SIFE as far as the amount of campus activity, perhaps not,” Schmidt said. “I think the student senate, while it was very consistent in their approach this year to things, I think there are instances where they are inconsistent from year to year because they have different senators. So we may [try again]. That’s not a criticism of the organization…different people interpret things different ways.”

SIFE is not dependent on SGA funds for all of its activities or events.

“We’ve done some fundraisers in the past and most of our money has come from outside grants either to the college, through the college…some funds have come directly to SIFE that we’ve been able to raise from people outside of the college,” Schmidt said.

First Year Council

According to the same minutes, First Year Council was denied line-item status by a 17-2 vote. Junior Class Senator Natalie Meier was against giving First Year Council line-item status because she said it wasn’t in the group’s best interest.

“First Year Council changes every year…so let’s say they want to add more activities or something or they want to make Lil’ Sibs weekend, which is their biggest event, bigger or try to do new things,” Meier said. “Then if you give them line-item status, they have a set budget. They can’t come back for more money. So, it would actually hurt them to give them line-item status.”

After First Year Council’s denial, Stephanie Krauth, associate dean of students and First Year Council adviser, wants to focus on how the group can better fit the requirements for line-item status.

“We are really seriously thinking about what do we do with First Year Council for next year,” Krauth said. “Do we really revamp what it looks like? Who belongs in it? Do we align it with maybe more of an administrative branch so that we have that seed money and have that group [First Year Council] go to senate simply for Lil’ Sibs weekend?”

Despite SGA’s decision, Krauth said First Year Council needs line-item status.

“We need our seed money,” Krauth said. “We really did need it for what we hope to achieve with that group.”

Like all the denied groups, First Year Council may still come to SGA and request funds throughout the year. Krauth and First Year Council plan to do so.

“We’ll still look to SGA for Lil’ Sibs Weekend,” Krauth said. “I think what we’re trying to think about is how do we align First Year Council more with the Barker/Kresge experience. We may look to residence life, how do we join up First Year Council and maybe a Barker/Kresge area council? Then that would be our seed money.”


According to SGA minutes, APO was denied line-item status by a 17-1 vote. Rundlett explained the denial.

“I can’t speak on behalf of senate, but I denied them on the tenant of their broad campus effect,” Rundlett said. “Our traditional line-item groups such as CAB, RLC and Intramurals, for example, all have about 70-75 percent of campus involvement regularly at their events. And, while I feel that theatre is very important on Simpson campus…I did not see APO having a strong argument as to how they had a broad campus effect.”

Hedrick expected APO denial for some of the reasons Rundlett cited.

“Basically [APO was denied] because we don’t have enough campus-wide impact, or enough need for financing before the beginning of the year,” Hedrick said.

According to Hedrick, the denial will not adversely affect the group much since the majority of APO’s activities are paid for by member dues and fundraisers. The group doesn’t plan on applying for line-item status in the near future.

“We really only work for KCACTF [Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival]…because we can’t afford to pay for all the lodging and stuff that it takes to go up there. So, basically that’s it. And it’s usually only for theater people…so it really makes sense we’re not there [line-item status].”

Student reaction

Junior T.J. Kasperbauer has faith in SGA’s decisions based on requirements the groups must meet.

“SGA usually knows what it’s doing and groups that didn’t get in this year will probably have a better chance next year, or will get their chance again in the future,” Kasperbauer said.

Senior Ann Beacom said she needs more information to make an informed opinion about which groups should have received line-item status.

“I guess it would depend why each group was denied,” Beacom said. “When you’re talking about campus-wide impact, it just depends if they’re [SGA] looking at how many events they’re [LGBTQA] doing, and how they are gauging the impact they’re having on campus.”