SGA Atlanta senate holds first quarantine online meeting

The SGA held their meeting via Zoom due to the virus. Photo by Samaria Clair | The Signal

The semester is coming to an end, and the Student Government Association Atlanta senate has wrapped up their final deliberations via a social distancing video chat. 

Atlanta senators gathered on April 2 to discuss recent reports and updates following the COVID-19 pandemic. Students were also allowed to join the video chat and contribute their thoughts and concerns as well. 

The meeting was scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. However, due to complications with people not being able to access the Microsoft Teams chat and making some adjustments to the agenda, the meeting started around  7:50 p.m.

Since there were no special reports to address, Speaker Pro Tempore Terry Fye conducted a new item under “new business” in the agenda. This new legislation encourages the University System of Georgia (USG) to consider a pass/fail system for college students.

No objections were made to add the legislation to the agenda. 

Executive Cabinet Reports 

Incoming Communication Director Shawn Cunningham, who recently finished his training for the position, briefly announced that he now has access to post things on social media.

Kaelen Thomas, speaker of the Atlanta senate, reported that there will be a ”tentative” Atlanta senate meeting scheduled on April 9 if there is business to consider. 

”Of course, our terms [do] not end until May,” Thomas said. ”If there has to be another Atlanta senate meeting call, that can be something that is looked into, if there is business to justify it.”

According to Fye, the scheduled meeting didn’t occur. 

SGA office administrators came up with an idea to give the committee binders that include information that SGA has gathered this year. The binders were supposed to be passed along to successors. 

”Due to the current pandemic, that is obviously not an option for us anymore,” Thomas said.

For the SGA committees, end of the year reports are still due electronically by April 20.

”This way we can still transition from one administration to the next seamlessly, and we are making sure that there is not a cycle that is broken here,” Thomas said. 

Atlanta SGA Advisor Gail Sutton reported that the University-Wide Executive Committee had a recent discussion that SGA will be able to reclaim the binders. However, they wouldn’t be able to get a hold of the binders until the clearance of the pandemic. 

SGA has to keep a hold onto their badges until they’ve determined a method to return them. 

“We hope to have a plan by the April 23 university-wide senate meeting,” Sutton said. 

SGA Senate Committee Reports

Sen. Nigel Walton spoke about the academic affairs committee and explained the updated withdrawal policy, which Georgia State extended to April 14.

For the student engagement committee, Sen. Audrey Abraham briefly talked about how hard it is to reach out to the majority of the students during this pandemic. 

However, she went on the Black Student Alliance (BSA) Instagram and thought what they were doing was interesting. 

Abraham spoke on how their posts are informative about significant figures who have contributed to the civil rights movement. 

A spokesperson for the student services committee, Sen. John Le weighed in on housing, parking, packaging, marketing and certifications. 

Before spring break, Le, alongside Thomas and Sen. Kalil Garrett, worked closely with university housing when residents were notified to vacate. 

“It was chaos, but everyone made it out,” Le said. 

Students had moved into single occupancy rooms to preserve social distancing. 

Parking refunds were processed on April 2. In order to get your refund, you will have to contact the Parking and Transportation Department for a request. 

Sen. Garrett and Sen. Jennifer Lopez proposed an idea to reserve an area in front of the University Commons for the Green Route shuttle to park to increase efficiency and safety for students who tend to wait there. 

“Right now, [Garrett and Lopez] are working on getting in contact with the [Atlanta City Government] to see if there’s something that we can do,” Le said. “If we can do it, that’ll be really great.” 

Before the pandemic outbreak, student services were working with Terry Fye to begin the Flower Initiative, a plan to provide feminine hygiene products to all six campuses.

Fye spearheaded the initiative and they were in the packaging and marketing stage before it was delayed due to COVID-19. 

”Hopefully with the next administration, they’ll be able to continue it,” Le said. 

Le has been communicating with the Sustainability Department about obtaining certifications for on-campus facilities.

According to Le, the Recreation Center has Green Globe certifications, which means that the entire Recreation Center facility is environmentally friendly. 

Unfortunately, getting updates on buildings becoming certified has been slowed down since the previous sustainability program manager has moved to another position. 

Vacancy Reports

Fye announced that the vacancy committee is preparing for online interviews for the 91st Administration. 

As of now, there are 16 graduate and undergraduate Atlanta senator vacancies for 2020-2021 below:

  • Andrew Young School of Policy Studies – 1 graduate 
  • Nursing and Health Professions – 1 graduate and 1 undergraduate 
  • College of Arts – 2 undergraduate
  • Arts and Science – 2 graduate and 5 undergraduate
  • Education and Human development – 1 graduate
  • Robinson College of Business – 1 graduate and 1 undergraduate 
  • Public Health – 1 graduate 

Fye wants the committee to encourage as many people as possible to join SGA.

Social media is being updated for vacancies.

New Legislation: Pass/Fail System 

Fye introduced new legislation to the committee, which encourages the USG to consider a pass/fail system. 

The sponsors are Executive Vice President Habibur-Rahman, Communications Director Shaun Cunningham, Sen. Le, Sen. Michael Olajide, Sen. Takia Tinsley and Speaker Thomas. 

This legislation was created after COVID-19 forced all USG college students to transition to online classes. 

A pass/fail system allows students to receive the credits for the registered course if they pass it but they won’t receive a letter grade. This system prevents a student’s GPA from being affected.

The bill passed without any objections. All 16 senators in attendance voted for it and the Atlanta senate plans on introducing a similar resolution at the next university-wide meeting to give all campuses a chance to provide input.