What last weeks vote could mean for the future of SGA

Editors Note: I was a member of the Student Government during the 2018-19 school year.

Last week, the Student Government Association held a pretty important referendum. While the referendum itself might not lead to massive changes, it’s what the organization will be able to do that is raising some heads. There were five questions asked of the students, which on the surface didn’t really mean anything. 

For example, the third question asks students if SGA should relocate “Article 6 – Executive Branch” from its constitution into the SGA bylaws. A simple change, right? But as The Signal reported on March 25, this gives SGA a lot of power.

“[T]he relocation would make calling a university-wide referendum unnecessary whenever there is a structural change in the executive branch,” the article explained.

This would allow SGA to do things such as abolishing the executive boards on each of the Perimeter College campuses. SGA would be allowed to consolidate the executive branch. One university-wide president, vice president and financial director. This would put the Perimeter College at a serious disadvantage and allow the Atlanta Campus to snatch up all of the executive branch positions, prioritizing Atlanta Campus issues, an issue that started a fight during the last administration. 

Couple that with the wording changes listed in the following questions. Part two of question five asks if they should change the wording of Article 13 from “shall process all expenditures approved by the Campus Senates and signed by the Finance Directors in a timely manner” to “shall process all expenditures approved by the senate[s] and signed by the finance director in a timely manner.” 

On the surface, it seems like the same wording, right? But notice how they turned the finance director into a singular term. This implies that there will only be one finance director. This singular position will likely be based on the Atlanta campus, where Atlanta senators will have easy access to the director. They also removed the term campus leaving only senates. This happens all over the constitution, removing the importance of each campus senates. 

This is likely a continuation of the consolidation of the Perimeter SGA that started under the last administration. On the surface, combining all of the Perimeter campus senates into one larger body would give them a more prominent voice in the overall organization. But remember why there are individual campus senates in the first place. 

A student on Clarkston doesn’t have the same concerns as a student in Dunwoody or Decatur. A student from Atlanta won’t understand the problems a student from Newton faces. SGA is supposed to be the students’ voice and help their students in any way possible. But they are humans; they simply won’t prioritize an issue to which they don’t personally relate.

Just like Atlanta doesn’t understand perimeter issues, Dunwoody doesn’t understand Clarkston issues. While I don’t think we should be raising the pitchforks just yet. We must understand what’s at stake and what is possible. You never know what could be happening behind the scenes.