SGA rethinks constitution following mass exodus

SGA meeting leaves several seats unfilled after many of its representatives resign.  Photo by Sam Dunn

SGA meeting leaves several seats unfilled after many of its representatives resign. Photo by Sam Dunn

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

With a large number of SGA senators resigning, SGA discussed potential revisions to the organization’s constitution to change the way clubs are involved in SGA meetings Thursday Feb. 15.

According to Art. III Sect. 2 of the drafted constitution, the senate shall consist of 21 senators, each senator representing a different department on campus.

SGA senator Laura Rusk expressed concern that this new structure may limit SGA senators in the interests and projects they want to pursue.

“I don't really like the idea of one person assigned to one subject because there are so many of us that are in many different things, are passionate about many different things, and we want to represent so many different things,” said Rusk. “I kind of like how we are a big body of people and we all do the same stuff together.”

SGA Vice President Madiha Ahmed explained this way of structuring was created to more efficiently task out responsibilities and not to limit freedom to pursue projects of interest.

“For example, if you were the senator for IT, it’s not like you can do nothing else. It is to say, if you are IT, you are responsible for IT,” explained Ahmed. “So you are accountable of visiting IT when it's needed. This is to prevent when we don’t have a member or when we say ‘who wants this role,’ but nobody volunteers for the role and its dead silent which is something we have struggled with in the past.”

SGA Senator Angel Madrigal agreed this new structure would increase accountability.

“Creating people who are specific senators for specific positions will give those senators individual accountability for reaching out those individual campus,” said Madrigal.

SGA senator Josh Bucens suggested condensing the list of senators.

“Maybe it's possible we can shrink this. Perhaps from 21 senators to seven senators. Each of the seven senators will be responsible for three different departments,” said Bucens. “I'm just concerned about getting 21 people in the same room, plus board, plus whoever else needs to be here.”

Another section of much discussion was SGA legislators. This part of the drafted constitution holds that recognized clubs and other organizations on campus can send a member to represent them on SGA in order to get money from SGA for their club.

SGA Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Noah Pearson said, “My only concern with legislators is that every single person at this school pays student activities fees and they use those student activity fees according to their need and how they want to use them and to participate in whichever organizations they feel like organizing, but by doing something like costing their funding or their ability to go to co-op or something is essentially saying that if you're not a part of SGA, you don’t have access to student activity fees.”

“That’s the accountability part of it, if you are a club and you want money for your organization you should show up and propose your idea,” said Ahmed. “Co-Op would still exist, but if you want funding from SGA, each club would choose a legislator to attend monthly SGA meetings. This will basically be their forum to express anything.”

Bucens supported the idea of monthly SGA meetings for legislators.

“This would be a way to get more community involvement and also PR opportunities,” he said. “If someone came from every club once a month it would be a lot of collaboration and  more people would know about all of the events. I think it would do great things for us and community would be close knit.”

SGA senator Lisa Dubin agreed.

“We had the issue constantly of knowing whether the clubs are still active or not on our campus. This would also be a great way to know whether or not they are and provide us feedback immediately on whether or not they're going downhill and allow us to get monthly check ins as well as to see what their membership looks like as well,” said Dubin. “I also think the once a month is great, but maybe we can do rotating, so once a month 10 clubs are assigned to come, and then the next month another 10.”

In the end, SGA decided to continue discussion regarding these revisions in the next meetings.

Ahmed encouraged SGA members to give their input and provide feedback for revisions to the constitution.

SGA Faculty Adviser and Vice President for Student Affairs Phil Riordan noted, “Remember all year you have said we need more involvement and senators need greater responsibility. So keep that in mind as you move forward with this.”