Senate passes spending $5,000 on picnic tables, but senators split


Photo courtesy Ryan Struyk.

This article has been corrected. See below for details.

Student senate voted to spend almost $5,000 on putting three picnic tables near the Hekman Library last Tuesday night, but not without opposition.

“We are spending too much money on something that doesn’t necessarily have overwhelming student support,” said senator Nathan Slauer, who voted no to the proposal.

Executive vice president Josiah Sinclair disagreed. “We’ve done past surveys where the student want is pretty high,” he said. “Over the summer, I think they will be used a lot.”

The proposal passed by voice vote, but both Slauer and cabinet member Ashley Holmes voted against it. Holmes declined comment on her vote.

The funding comes from student senate’s “$10k initiative,” an opportunity for student senate to fund student ideas.

A student first proposed the idea last fall, and senate has been working with physical plant on plans for landscaping and location.

Another idea before senate on Tuesday night was to move the community garden from the Knollcrest East apartments to the west campus, so that it would be in a more noticeable location.

Senate may give the leftover funds — about $1,500 —  to that project, leaving the community garden short of required funding. Sinclair is optimistic that an additional fundraiser and extra funding from senate’s budget would make up the remaining funding.

But Slauer thought the funding should have gone to the community garden, which had the explicit support of some student groups, first.

“The community garden project is more clearly representative of student groups coming in and [senate] representing them,” said Slauer. “Although we’re supporting the community garden project, we’re not doing it as fully as we could.”

Sinclair said that plans had already been in the works for the picnic table project for several months.

“Physical plant was poised to go with a pretty substantial partnership there,” said Sinclair.

The landscaping around the picnic tables is slated to start during spring break.

Corrections: A previous statement that senate’s logos would be placed on the tables and that they would cost $400-800 was incorrect. Senate is buying three tables, not four. Senate has about $1,500 left in the $10k initiative, not $3,500, as previously reported.