A new bill introduced in the student senate could change the frequency at which comedians appear on campus as part of major events.
The ETSU Student Government Association senate read a piece of legislation Tuesday evening that could save the university money by taking comedians out of the normal slate of “genres” available to students when they vote for the artists who will perform during the following semester’s major event.
Normally, the university cycles through six genres and once every seven semesters lands on “other,” a category that encompasses all of the available genres and gives students the ability to vote on the genre they’d most prefer.
The voting occurs during the semester prior to the concert.
As of now, the six available genres are rock, hip-hop/rhythm and blues, pop, country, comedian and alternative.
“We have records of how many people who attend the concerts each year,” said SGA Vice President Nathan Farnor, who co-wrote the legislation with SGA Secretary of Exterior Molly Jones, “and the comedian act, whoever it is every few years when that one comes up, is always the lowest attended event.
“Part of that is due to the nature of the event — it has to be held in a location like an auditorium …, which from the very beginning limits the amount of people that can participate.”
Farnor said the university typically loses a lot of money when it brings comedians to campus.
“This money that we’re spending on the concerts is student fees,” Farnor said. “This is direct money coming from the students that we basically turn around and give back to the students through some kind of show.”
After the university changed the number of major events per year from four to two, the bill said that the budget for major concerts has increased.Because comedic events tend to have lower attendance, ETSU is able to use this money more efficiently by bringing in musicians rather than comedians.
The legislation also mentions that organizations like Black Affairs and Buctainment have in the past been able to bring comedians like Keenan Thompson, Emmanuel Hudson and Philip Hudson to campus without using fees set aside for major events.
The senate will deliberate on the legislation during their next meeting.
“Our real goal is to ultimately utilize the money better and just increase the attendance at the events,” Farnor said.
The senate also received a visit from ETSU Chief Information Officer Karen King on Tuesday, who talked to senators about the university’s transition from Goldmail — the university’s longstanding student email system — to Office 365.
“Several years ago, through an SGA resolution, it came to our attention that students were interested in having the Office products as well,” King said.
“Students wanted the same email that everyone else at ETSU had — only the employees.”
King said the university has been working towards this for several years and just recently received the opportunity after Microsoft changed its pricing structure.
“What [Microsoft] did was add to our current Microsoft agreement to allow all students to have the same access to Office 365 as employees have,” King said.
Students now have access to the Office 365 suite, a 50 gigabyte mailbox and one terabyte of data storage on OneDrive — and King said the agreement was made at no additional cost to students and the university.
“Microsoft basically just folded this into our existing agreement,” King said.
King said the university has been pushing students to begin using their Office 365 accounts as opposed to their Goldmail, and so far, 622 students have not yet signed into their new Office 365 account.
“I don’t think that’s really too bad given that it’s the second week of school, but we need to get all those students signed in because that is where all of your official communication is going,” King said.