SGA updates: Safety forum, university-wide committee for a CBA

After twice confronting the Student Government Association (SGA) during their meetings, United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Turner Field residents and student activists finally grabbed the organization’s attention.

USAS made an appearance in the student government meetings first on Jan. 26, during a Q&A with Georgia State University President Mark Becker, where student activist Asma Elhuni was taken out of the room by police and issued a two-year ban as a criminal trespass warning.

A measure that GSUPD chief Joseph Spillane said will work differently from now on. He said the ‘ban’ will last only until the student meets with administration, and will also depend on whether the individuals are students or not, and how severe their violation was.

“[GSUPD will] want to bar that student until they talk to [Dr.] Holloman and see which conduct was violated — until Holloman tells me we’re good to go,” he said during SGA’s campus safety forum on Feb. 23.

And Dean of Students Dr. Darryl Holloman said they have looked into the process ever since Spillane came on board and could not determine where the two-year period came from, saying it “maybe was a little too long.”

USAS members and Turner Field residents spoke out again during a Feb. 2 meeting, where they decided to meet with the organization to discuss possible ways the student government can help.

In their Feb. 16 meeting, SGA heard a special report from USAS members on the recent Turner Field sale and the terms of the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) they have been pushing for.  Two senators, Sen. Maxwell Turner and liaison Markeesa Walker, also presented a special report on the subject after researching the aspects of the sale and the CBA.

According to SGA communications director Anthony Nguyen, USAS had drafted and presented a resolution to the senators which called for the association to take a stance on the CBA and support it.

But Nguyen said, not all senators agreed.

“The discussion turned into what we can do together, I said that we can disagree all day over the CBA about the details, but what can SGA do instead? After the discussion, we said that instead, we should draft a new resolution that doesn’t take a stance but gives them [USAS] resources that they need,” he said.

SGA will create those resources through a university-wide committee that would provide USAS a channel of communication between their students, residents and Georgia State administration.

Nguyen said that even though SGA has heard USAS’ request in the past and presented President Becker with the CBA before, it’s the lack of constant communication that has caused a large disconnect.

This was also brought up by student activist Asma Elhuni in SGA’s Feb. 2 meeting, saying she rejected a meeting with the administration, because the representation would not be equal and she felt it was unfair.

“The committee would keep it [communication] consistent, and keep it on equal standards,” Nguyen said.