Student Government Association (SGA) senators packed their last university-wide meeting with legislation.
The March 9 meeting started with a presentation from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Douglass Covey, who gave a briefing on legislation passing through the Georgia House and Senate, as well as took questions from senators on commencement, confirming there is no way the location will change, and the Georgia State stadium — aka former-Turner Field.
The meeting closed with a moment of silence for DACA students who “don’t have a voice”, led by Sen. Sara Moreno Duque.
Getting down to business, the senators managed to pass three new bills and a resolution:
Attendance Clarification Act of 2017
The new bill, authored by Clarkston senator Jailyn Jackson would require senators from all campuses to be present in their respective campus’ meeting rooms so that they’d connect to university-wide meetings through WebEx. The legislation would take away senators’ current choice of connecting to the meetings from their homes or any other location, a change which some senators called “inconvenient.”
Newton Executive Vice President Daniel Detflesen, said the bill poses even more requirements for Perimeter campus senators, instead of incentivizing them to tune in to university-wide meetings.
Detflesen gave examples of senators from Newton that leave campus, and would then, if this bill was enacted, have to drive back, leave work or home, to attend the meeting from their campus’ designated conference room. A requirement which, SGA president Fortune Onwuzuruike said, would add a “professional vibe” to university-wide meetings.
Despite Detflesen’s objections and other senators’ objections, the bill was passed. Atlanta Executive Vice President Shamari Southwell said getting to a campus shouldn’t be an inconvenience for Perimeter students, as they’re already required to have that time alloted for the meeting.
“University-wide meetings are already twice a semester and you get those dates well in advance. I think people can make it four times a year,” he said.
Unless, as SGA advisor Boyd Beckwith pointed out, SGA becomes more legislatively active and begins to meet more than twice a semester.
Microwave Advocate Act of 2017
A submission of Atlanta campus senator Corey Gray, the new bill would add microwaves on campus which according to Gray, would be an aid for commuter students.
“Our 10 year mark [partnership] with a vendor has just ended, and [the university] has a new vendor [who has] already purchased microwaves, but they have not been placed yet,” Gray said.
The bill seeks to partner with Auxiliary Services director of marketing and administration support Chris Connelly, and send out a “special task force” which would configure the best locations for microwaves around campus — where commuter students often have their lunch — and report back to Connelly.
Opposition to the State of Georgia House Bill 280 “Campus Carry” Resolution
With two sponsors and authored by SGA Communications Director Anthony Nguyen, the Senate passed a resolution, similarly to last year, opposing the “campus carry” that’s now making its way through the Georgia Senate.
House Bill 280 (HB 280) passed in the Georgia House of Representatives with 108-63, and would allow handguns to be carried on public universities campuses by those who have a carrying license, with the exceptions of athletic events, student housing, sorority/fraternity housing, and preschools.
The SGA resolution reads, “The potential issues of handgun thefts on campus, and increase of armed robberies on campus, the lack of necessary training for students acting in self-defense with a firearm, and an increased potential of deaths on campus could be avoided by the non-passage of HB 280 and the continuation of the concealed firearms ban on public college campuses.”
University-Wide Election Code Update Act of 2017
Two weeks before SGA elections, the last bill passed on Thursday night was one that aims to prevent non-Georgia State entities from influencing the election outcomes.
Bill sponsor and SGA Speaker Pro-Tempore Usra Mohamed said the bill would prevent any non-university entities from endorsing candidates in order to push their own political agendas, by providing them with financial means.