For the first time in a long time, during its last meeting, Senate had bills or resolutions from every committee.
While FAC (Financial Appropriations Committee) has bills funding various clubs almost every week, and SOC (Student Organization Committee) has bills chartering new clubs often enough, the other two committees present bills less often.
GOC (Government Operations Committee) had several bills as part of an effort to make SA more professional. One of those bills came from Michael Mancini. It was a resolution calling for higher standards for senators during Senate meetings.
It states that senators should refrain from using computers for anything other than “Student Association” business while organization representatives are present in a meeting.
It goes further when organization representatives are giving a report or being questioned.
During that time senators wouldn’t be supposed to use computers at all. As a resolution, the measure does not change any documents but rather expresses the will of Senate.
Mancini explained his rationale for the measure by stating that “Senators have recently begun to express a desire for more professionalism at our meetings.
Last week we took the first step by requiring organization representatives to deliver their reports from the front of the room rather than their seats. I thought that if we were raising standards for others that we should seek to improve our own conduct as well.”
Enforcement would be up to the sergeant-at-arms and the vice president. The resolution passed with some opposition.
One of the other bills that passed had to do with that requirement for organization representatives to speak from the front of the room.
The rule, as it stood before last week, specifically exempted senators. However, SA officers and SA’s advisor are not members of Senate. As such, there was no clear exemption for them.
The new rule states that “Student Association Officers and Advisors” would also be exempt. The bill was written by Nicole Coppola and passed without objection.
Another bill was titled “Justice for Justices” and it placed additional duties on members of the Judicial Council. It was written by Emma Stewart.
It requires all justices to attend at least one Cabinet meeting and one Senate meeting per semester. However, it allows SA’s secretary to exempt students since some of them apparently switched from Cabinet or Senate in part because of a conflicting schedule.
Justices failing to attend those meetings (assuming no exemption) could be removed from office.
Chief Justice Brittany Johnston said that she favors the measure because she thinks that “attending Senate and Cabinet at least once will give Justices a good opportunity to be a more active part of the SA body.”
While the official reason for the bill (as cited within it) seems to be “that members of the Judicial Council are leaders in the Student Association, who should therefore be involved in and aware of Student Association activities,” senators also seemed to believe that requiring justices to attend meetings would help them know about how SA actually operates.
During the meeting, there was some discussion of shortening the amount of time it covers. For instance, President Whitney House suggested restricting the bill to first semester.
However, the bill passed as it was written without objection.
Another GOC bill has to do with record keeping. It gives new organizations a certificate and also requires SA, or more specifically SOC, to keep a physical (as well as digital) copy of a charter.
The bill was meant to help SA keep track of student organizations. The measure was written by Miranda Dabney and passed without objection.
There was also a resolution from SIC (Student Investigative Committee). It was written by John Talmage, who is also SIC chair.
If enacted, it would request that lights be installed along the west side of Delaware Avenue. The resolution was tabled so that senators could hear more from the Physical Plant.
Talmage said “We just don’t want to seem to be going around them before we’ve gotten fully on the same page with them about what we’re asking for. We’re still fairly convinced that some action will be necessary.”