USC Student Government postponed its referendum to re-establish the Office of Student Body Treasurer and create a student senate delegation for CarolinaLIFE on Nov. 28. Voting on the referendum was originally scheduled for Nov. 29-30.
Elections commissioner John Hladun found a section of the student government codes Monday that said the student body must be made aware of the referendum at least a week in advance of voting. Hladun and the rest of the elections commission did not feel that the student body was adequately aware of the referendum, and decided to postpone it.
The codes specify that for a referendum to appear on the ballot it must be conspicuously distributed electronically, like in a mass email, or written about in The Daily Gamecock at least a week in advance.
"I think it would have been negligent on our part to go through with it ... it would have been in violation of the codes and honestly I think students are busy getting prepared for finals," Hladun said.
The referendum election will now likely be held Jan. 10-11, when students return from break, Hladun said.
In 2021, the student senate voted to end the Office of the Student Body Treasurer starting with the next election cycle. In January 2022, Laney Quickel took the position of student body treasurer for the remainder of the term, after the originally elected treasurer, Kate Turner, stepped down to go abroad.
The student body treasurer oversees the internal finances of Student Government, as well as helping to allocate funds from the campus activity fee to student organizations that request those funds.
"It's a very hefty role. It's an incredibly important role, not only to Student Government, but to the student body," Student Body President Reedy Newton said.
Student Government has just over $55,000 as a total internal budget yearly. The funds are allocated to various projects and also go to support the executive officers' stipends.
“They thought that that stipend bill could be used elsewhere, which is honorable, but in my experience, I felt bad for the person who had to do that without getting some sort of compensation,” Turner said.
Once the position was removed, Jason Zaprazny was nominated by Newton to work as secretary of finance under the Office of the Student Body President. Unlike a student body treasurer, the secretary of finance is not an elected or paid position.
“I've been trying my best with the cards we've been dealt, but this is a position that definitely requires far more rigorous training and onboarding than I was provided, and that's not anyone's fault," Zaprazny said. "When the treasurer was done away with, it was during COVID, so student orders weren't really requested money, there wasn't that need for somebody to be constantly on it. That is no longer the case.”
Zaprazny is stepping down to study abroad and hopes that another nominee for secretary of finance will be nominated soon. If the referendum passes, a new student body treasurer will be elected in the spring, along with the new student body president and vice president.
Student senator Hannah Augsbach Lamma introduced the legislation after noticing a lot of confusion and a slowed-down process in applications for Student Government funding for student organizations. In order to apply for Student Government funding, an organization must have a treasurer.
“I was getting a lot of pushback," Augsbach Lamma said. "We require treasurers at every single organization on campus ... it didn’t really make sense in the first place.”
Also on the ballot is the opportunity to create a student senate delegation for CarolinaLIFE. CarolinaLIFE is a non-degree program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently, CarolinaLIFE students are not represented in the student senate.
To run for a position in the senate, USC students must be full-time students who maintain a cumulative GPA viable for graduation. CarolinaLIFE students do not use a grade point average system.
“It is really important for Student Government to be as inclusive as possible," Muskaan Makkar, who wrote the amendment to the referendum that calls for a CarolinaLIFE delegation, said. "And getting rid of the GPA requirement specifically for CarolinaLIFE students and getting them a delegation will allow for their voices to be heard.”