ASG speaks about Wi-Fi issues, debates airfare policy

The Allegheny Student Government discussed disruptions in the college WiFi and took steps to amend its Financial Guidelines at their General Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
In response to a question from Senator Nicole Recio Bremer, ’25, Co-Director of Student Affairs Cam Lesher, ’24, offered what information he had on the college’s wireless internet situation.
“I know that it went out and it was down for a period of time and they don’t know exactly why,” Lesher said. “I know that they’re working on installing a new company and so they’re transitioning from one company to another company and that’s why the outdoor (access points) aren’t actually running. I also know that there was an email that went out to faculty that asked them to switch to using the summer Wi-Fi, but it didn’t make it to students, so, if anyone needs the summer Wi-Fi information, I think most people have it by now, but I don’t know anything beyond that.”
On the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 26, an email was sent to the college community informing them of a network reboot set to take place at 9 a.m. that day. A follow-up email sent just after 10 a.m. reported that, “the reboot was successful and that campus wireless networks have been restored.”
During the cabinet report of Director of the Treasury Adriana Solis, ’23, the Senate approved $1,963.30 in spending — $1581.33 from the General Fund, $275 from the Surplus Fund and $106.97 from the Culture, Identity and Leadership Coalition Fund.
In “New Business,” Solis introduced a pair of amendments to ASG’s Financial Guidelines relating to the use of ASG funds to purchase airfare.
Currently, Article II, Section L, subsection 2 of the Financial Guidelines contains the only reference to traveling by aircraft. Section L deals with “Non-Allowable Expenses,” including subsection 2: “Airline or other trip insurance (including automobile rental).”
“The wording on it is a little ambiguous and leaves room for interpretation, so right now I’m proposing a change to the Financial Guidelines,” Solis said. “There’s currently two amendments that I am looking for: one of them (Amendment 22-04-A) is to make all airline expenses unallowable for clubs, so they wouldn’t be able to purchase airfare or airline insurance, and the second one (Amendment 22-04-B) makes it to where just airline insurance cannot be purchased.”
Solis later clarified that the Senate would pick either 22-04-A or 22-04-B, not both.
On motion from Senator Jasmin Meyer-Jaafari, ’23, ASG held a five-minute discussion on 22-04-A, a blanket ban on all airline-related spending. Meyer-Jaafari began the conversation by asking if the question of airfare was actually a concern for clubs.
Solis responded that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, paying for airfare had not been an issue, though ASG now has to decide whether to approve a request from the Speaker Fund for airfare.
“There is a club that is bringing a speaker in through airplane,” Solis said. “Originally I said they couldn’t include the airfare as part of their transportation costs, but this would be directly — it would determine if they could in the foreseeable future, because a lot of the speakers that students want to bring in are typically out-of-state.”
Senator V Belcher, ’26, followed up and questioned the relevance of the amendment given how infrequently the issue arises.
“Why can’t we spend money to allow them to complete these fees?” Belcher asked. “Because it’s one club, you said, that wants to bring a speaker. I just don’t understand why it’s an issue.”
ASG President Veronica Green, ’23, chimed in and said that the move was designed to keep clubs from exhausting the Speaker Fund on airfare, particularly with what she saw as declining student enrollment and rising airline costs.
“This is supposed to protect us and our budget, in addition to future policies because typically when policies are written you look at the precedent of previous years, and then we look and we’re like, ‘okay, do we need to expand or get rid of stuff from this finance policy?’” Green said. “The last time airplane tickets were bought by ASG was once in 2018 and then there was the last time before that was 2013, but now that we have clubs wanting to utilize airfare for speakers, we don’t have a lot of our speaker funds to begin with.”
However, Bremer pointed out that preventing clubs from traveling by air can increase costs, citing the experience of the Model United Nations club last year in traveling to Massachusetts.
“I remember with MUN last year when we went to Harvard, train tickets were more expensive than the flight tickets,” Bremer said. “Just because of this rule, we purchased train tickets. I think that’s something like — yes, maybe plane tickets are more expensive sometimes, but not always.”
Senator Sam Ault ’26, moved to extend the discussion an additional three minutes, and suggested a more nuanced look at the policy.
“Have we considered a version of the Financial Guideline that explicitly states ASG will only pay for a certain amount of airline travel or ASG will only provide funding for airline travel if it’s proven that that’s the cheapest option?” Ault asked. “Something with a clear-cut guideline of when we will and will not do it.”
Though Solis pushed back on complicating ASG’s financial policy, Ault’s suggestion garnered the support of Chief of Staff Ray Colabawalla, ’25.
“I think (Ault’s) specification is good enough because it specifies that we’d pay for the airline if it were the cheapest travel option,” Colabawalla said. “I think that there’s no need to make an exception in any case over that.”
On motion from Senator Lorenzo Scarnati, ’26, the Senate voted 16-0 to amend Amendment 22-04-A to allow clubs to only purchase airline tickets if it is the cheapest travel option. Senator Sofia Hassan, ’24, then moved to vote on the updated Amendment 22-04-A, which passed 16-0. Bremer abstained on both votes.
The amendment requires another round of voting — most likely at next week’s GA — before it goes into effect.
During her cabinet report, Director of Organizational Development Kori Bower, ’23, announced that Provost and Dean of the Faculty Angela Haddad will be the guest speaker at next week’s GA.
ASG will hold its next GA on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in room 301/302 of the Henderson Campus Center.