SGA adds new positions to standing committees

Andrew Whyte, president of the Student Government Association

During the month of January, the Student Government Association (SGA) made headlines by adding an amendment to its constitution, swearing-in a new executive vice president and beginning its election commission term.

Two pieces of news that came out of the Jan. 16 SGA Senate meeting were the swearing-in of new Executive Vice President Ashley Osato Uzamere and the passing of legislation that will now allow freshman to contribute to SGA during their first semester of college.

Sen. Justin Brightharp proposed a bill during the senate meeting that would create 12 positions on each of the senate standing committees that could be filled by freshmen in their first semester at Georgia State.

Vice President of the Student Government Association, Ashley Uzamere
Vice President of the Student Government Association, Ashley Uzamere

“Creating these 12 new positions would provide a fast-track for first-semester freshman who are eager to get involved with SGA,” Brightharp said. “These representatives would have the same responsibilities as senators, advocating for student rights and such. However, they would not be able to vote or pass any legislation.”

While holding the senate floor, Brightharp went on to say that these positions would allow freshman to gain invaluable experience as a part of the SGA. More importantly, they would not be overwhelmed with responsibility.

“The creation of these positions would create more available spots for students interested in getting involved with SGA and would also create more representation for the student population at Georgia State,” Brightharp said.

He also informed his fellow senators that before these positions were created, the ratio of students to SGA representatives at Georgia State was 1,000-to-1. Creating these new positions would cut the ratio in half, according to Brightharp.

These new positions will not be made restrictive to freshman applicants only. Any student can apply for these new positions in SGA, but freshmen are encouraged to do so.

After much discussion between the senators, the bill was voted into law by a slim majority of senators. The new law will go into effect starting fall semester 2014.

Andrew Whyte, president of the Student Government Association
Andrew Whyte, president of the Student Government Association

After the act was passed, Ashley Uzamere was sworn in as new executive VP. No senator opposed her instatement.

“I am so excited and truly honored to become SGA’s new Executive VP,” Uzamere said. “I can’t wait to work with the senators and support my president.”

Ashley Uzamere replaced Ashley Epperson, the former executive VP who graduated in the fall 2013 semester. However, Uzamere will only be in office for a short period of time, as the new election term fast approaches. If she wants to stay in office for longer, she will have to re-apply.

According to current SGA president and former election commission officer Andrew Whyte, the role of the election commission is to set the timetable for the election process on campus.

The election commission term period begins on Jan. 21 and continues on through late April,” Whyte said. “Incumbents have to re-apply for positions in SGA just like newcomers do.”

SGA applications are available starting on Feb. 10, and they have to be submitted by Feb. 28. After reviewing the applications, the election commission notifies all applicants of their eligibility for the positions by Mar. 5.

On Mar. 31, one week after beginning the campaign process, the voting period begins and lasts for four days. Official SGA representatives will be announced on April 8.