SA bill cuts Student Nurses’ Association from budget pool

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Contributing Photo Editor

A new SA bill disqualifies the Student Nurses’ Association from receiving SA funding. Students in the School of Nursing currently do not pay the Student Association fee.

Student organizations in the School of Nursing were eligible to collect funding from the Student Association for years, even though the school’s students were not paying the fee that sustains the SA’s budget.

That changed this month when the SA Senate passed a bill preventing student organizations associated with schools that do not pay SA fees from receiving SA funding. The bill disqualifies the Student Nurses’ Association, which was allotted $150 from the SA for fiscal year 2017, from receiving funding.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email that students in the School of Nursing currently do not pay the SA fee because it is charged only to on-campus students. The nursing school, formed in 2010 on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Va., is not considered on-campus, Csellar said.

Csellar said only on-campus students pay the SA fee because it is designed to support student groups that operate on-campus. She said students on the VSTC campus do not pay SA fees.

If the nursing school were to opt into the SA fee, the change would be a student-led initiative because it most directly affects students and their organizations, Csellar said. She declined to say if the Student Nurses’ Association will receive any outside financial support from the University.

“I don’t believe it is fair to allocate Student Association funds to student organizations whose entire membership does not pay the SA fee.”

“As a registered student organization, SNA will continue to have a staff adviser in the Center for Student Engagement and a faculty adviser in the School of Nursing, since it is an academic affiliated student organization,” Csellar said.

Students are charged a $2.75 SA fee for each course credit hour that they take. The money collected makes up the majority of the SA’s $1.8 million pool that is allocated to student groups across campus.

Former Sen. Nate Pasko, ESIA-U and former chair of the finance committee, said the Student Nurses’ Association is the only organization that will be affected by the bill. He said he sponsored it because students who do not contribute to the annual SA budget pool should not reap its benefits.

“I don’t believe it is fair to allocate Student Association funds to student organizations whose entire membership does not pay the SA fee,” Pasko said in an email.

Pasko said the School of Nursing is the only school at GW that currently does not charge its students this fee. The bill will apply to any future schools that stop paying the SA fee, he said.

After receiving $150 from the SA during the 2017 fiscal year, Pasko said the organization did not request funds from the SA again for the upcoming fiscal year.

Sabrina Livne-Kennedy, the president of the Student Nurses’ Associaton, said the organization was unaware of the bill and how it would affect the organization. She declined to comment further on the issue.

“If you’re not paying in, then I don’t think you should have a share or a piece of that pie.”

Jordan Ramsdell, the group’s treasurer, declined to comment.

Sen. Devan Cole, CCAS-U, who served as the vice chair of the finance committee last term and now heads the committee, said he co-sponsored the bill because SA funding should only be given to those who pay into the fund.

“If you’re not paying in, then I don’t think you should have a share or a piece of that pie,” he said.

Former SA Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno said he hoped the bill would encourage schools that are formed in the future to mandate that their students begin paying a fee to the SA when they launch.

“We’re taking money from other students who continuously pay the fee – pay what you can call their taxes to us – and we’re taking their money and giving it to others who don’t contribute at all to the pot,” he said. “That, in my mind, is not fair.”

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