SGA debates student dining options

The Student Government Association met on Nov. 16 to debate changes to the meal plans for students. Mark Campos / Staff Photographer

The Student Government Association met on Nov. 16 to debate changes to the meal plans for students. Mark Campos / Staff Photographer

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After working on library renovations earlier in the week, Student Government Association had a food fight at their Wednesday meeting.

The Student Government Association met on Nov. 16 to debate changes to the meal plans for students. Mark Campos / Staff Photographer

SGA debated two resolutions regarding student meal plans for residents and commuters.

The meal plan proposal for residents, which included a provision to increase flex dollars for all student meal plans, sparked a debate about financial considerations for students who live on campus.

The resolution came up for debate after Van Vieregge, director of business and auxiliary services for student development, suggested a possible increase in flex dollars for student meal plans last week.

The resolution included increasing flex dollars for all student meal plans.

The meal plans would be increased by $100 for students with the all-flex plan, $85 for students with the eight-meal plan, $80 for students with the 10-meal plan and $75 for students with the 14-meal plan.

Senators Krishi Peddada and Kathleen Cadigan presented the proposal and a survey where 91 percent of students said that an increase in flex would allow them “to take better advantage of the dining options.”

Senators questioned the proposal for various reasons including its timing, the validity of the survey cited in the resolution and the effect the proposed increase would have on room and board.

Senators questioned the rushed timing of the proposal. Senators feared that the resolution was not fully considered and that more time was needed to consider the resolution.

Senators also questioned the data that was cited. The survey only received answers from 442 respondents about the increase in flex dollars, which senators thought was not representative of the entire student body.

Senators also debated how the increase would affect room and board rates for fall 2012. Senators argued that this increase would add to room and board hikes for next year.

Senators began to disagree whether the increase in flex dollars would be stacked with the room and board increase for next year. Order had to be called a few times to control the arguments between different senators.

Senators attempted to end the debate before other senators could speak on the proposed issue. Senator Blake Exline proposed an amendment to remove all the proposed the financial considerations within the bill. The amendment passed with the removal of all the proposed increases in flex dollars. The remaining clause in the bill, which created an ad-hoc meal-plan task force, was passed.

SGA also changed the current commuter meal-plan system. In the new plan, there are two options: $300 for 250 flex dollars or $400 for 350 flex dollars. Commuters can opt for the new and larger plans, but students will automatically be given the current commuter meal plan, which is $200 for 150 flex dollars.

SGA also endorsed the decision to close the Busch Student Center at midnight instead of 2 a.m. At last week’s meeting, Vieregge said that the center would start closing earlier after the winter break. Vieregge cited low student traffic between midnight and 2 a.m. as one of the reasons for the earlier closing time. Vieregge said that the BSC will extend hours beyond midnight for special events and finals week.

SGA confirmed and seated five new senators. Finally, SGA nominated Tommy Zhang to fill the vacant vice president of international affairs position.