Point Park Globe

USG swears in new parliamentarian

President Hennigan addresses USG on cuts

Written By Amanda Andrews, USG Beat Writer

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Former Senator Matthew Spadaccia was sworn in as United Student Government’s (USG) new Parliamentarian at this week’s Legislative Body Meeting.

USG has been without a Parliamentarian for nearly three weeks following the sudden resignation of former Parliamentarian Alex Popichak.

Spadaccia was elected as a senator at the end of last semester and has served on the Campus Activities Board (CAB) for a number of years, and currently holds the position of Event Coordinator in that facet. While his experience with USG has been limited thus far, Spadaccia expressed that did not curb his enthusiasm concerning the organization or his belief that he has a lot to offer as the new
Parliamentarian. 

“When I got here [to USG], seeing it…you kind of just fall in love with it,” Spadaccia said. “You kind of just get a feeling that it’s something different. It’s something out of the ordinary, and I wanted to get more involved with it.”

Spadaccia said his skills in leadership would be valuable as Parliamentarian, more than ever.

When questioned as to why Spadaccia was selected for the Parliamentarian position, USG President Kaylee Kearns gave a brief explanation.

“We did an interview process, only three of the individuals showed up for interviews,” Kearns said. “And [Spadaccia] was just the best applicant that we felt was most fit for the job.”

Spadaccia’s main goal for the rest of the semester is to facilitate the process of revising USG’s constitution. He opted for a more conservative approach to changing the constitution, analyzing it section by section instead of making sweeping alterations, but also expressed potential plans for a constitutional convention.

President Paul Hennigan accepted an invitation to speak in front of USG at this week’s meeting. He discussed tuition costs, transparency and budget cuts, the Pittsburgh Playhouse funding and his role as president of the university.

Hennigan explained how Point Park follows a system of providing differential tuition. Tuition prices for Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA) students is typically higher than that of students in all other departments because of their predominant use of expensive equipment, according to Hennigan.

As operating costs for the university continue to rise, tuition must increase as well, according to Hennigan. The largest portion of that operating budget, however, is what helps out students in the first place: financial aid. 

“Every student sitting in the room has a different financial aid package than every other student in the room,” Hennigan said. “And that’s based on merit, and it’s based on your need, and that’s all confidential by federal law.”

Hennigan cited the FASFA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that students submit to determine their level of need – as an example of this process.

“If you give permission to Point Park to get that information, we get that information, and we put together a scholarship and a need package for each and every individual student here at the university,” Hennigan said. “That financial aid package that we provide to you is part of the university’s budget. And so what’s driving the university budget and driving the increased cost of tuition more than anything else at the university is
financial aid.”

Hennigan claimed that financial aid is increasing faster than tuition, and that tuition prices will increase proportionally to financial aid increases.

The construction of the Pittsburgh Playhouse did not come from the university operating budget, thus students did not pay for the construction with their tuition money. Budget cuts, Hennigan predicted, would continue for several years as the student body continues to shrink.

Hennigan said he intends to make another appearance in front of USG sometime next month to further deliberate on tuition and costs with USG
members.

Student clubs and organizations had until 5 p.m. on Monday to submit budget requests. On Friday and Sunday, USG will have its funding meeting to rank the priority of clubs’ financial requests to determine how to delineate funds for the next funding
period. 

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