In an effort to “tighten up” rule-following, as Student Government Association (SGA) Speaker of the House Blessing Akomas called it, the association terminated six of its senators in its last meeting before Christmas.
On Dec. 1, Jacob Hill, Josea Mendez, Chandler Harper, Juan Galvis, Channel Smith and Xinnan Liu were dismissed from SGA for violating the attendance policy, which disallows any senator from having more than three unexcused absences.
According to the association’s official bylaws, any senator who “accumulates three absences per semester for Campus Senate Meetings or a total of six for University-Wide Senate, or SGA committee meetings, excused or unexcused, shall automatically and promptly be removed from office on the grounds of nonfeasance.”
In their closing remarks of last week’s meeting, Sen. Joshua Scales told his fellow senators that being absent to their meetings is like “a slap in the face” to the ones that show up, and that, come next semester, they should be entering with a more “committed mindset.”
Commitment is an issue SGA has often stumbled upon.
According to Akomas, the dismissal of senators for attendance is a part of the laws that had been overlooked in a while.
“Last year, a lot of the senators that were still in the senate had missed multiple meetings, but that was up to that administration. A big thing we’re doing [this year] is tightening up and making sure that they’re held accountable to their responsibilities,” Akomas said.
According to Akomas, the selected senators failed to show involvement and some were not in standing committees, which is required by the senators.
“The majority of the active members are still here, and still with us, a lot of the senators [dismissed] weren’t necessarily participating in events, a lot of them were not necessarily active members, volunteering to events, attending things they were supposed to be,” she said.
In the same set of bylaws, it states that it “shall be the responsibility of the Speaker of the Senate to inform the Senate of any Senator who has accumulated two absences.” But Akomas didn’t do so.
But, it’s acceptable that this part of the policy was overlooked, Atlanta SGA advisor and director Gail Sutton said, since it’s the “senators’ responsibility to keep track of their attendance.”
The senators also welcomed a meeting by two Georgia Tech students, Murtaza Bambot and Nathan Dass, who partnered up to create a new platform for applying to internships, InternBlitz. The students asked SGA to help them get the word out for the app by sending out blast e-mails and Groupme messages, as well as set up flyers around campus and refer the new platform to professors.