SGA passes attendance bylaws

Student Government Association passed a new revision of its bylaws Wednesday, after a long debate on an issue that had been on the table since the previous administration took office.

After six failed attempts to pass the bylaws with and without restrictions, SGA came to a conclusion on controversial sections which address senators' attendance. The senate passed the bylaws as originally presented 20 to 10.

"What we are trying to do is give the same standard for on-campus senators as organizational senators have to abide by," Vice President Whitney Hamblin said.

The bylaw states that university housing establishments will be given seats on the senate at the start of each legislative term.

The trouble stems from the fact that a university housing establishment will lose its seat on senate after two unexcused absences during a single legislative term.

Many senators raised concern about the beginning of a school year, when an SGA representative has not yet been chosen for a residence facility but senate has convened for the year. The main concern is whether the missed senate meetings would be counted toward the two unexcused absences.

"The contract is in place so that senators and organizations are fully aware of what the policy is and so that communication is established right away," SGA senator Chris Buck said.

While communication is key in making sure senators are doing their job and reporting back to constituents, many felt that individuals should be held accountable and not the organization. They wanted to allow the organization or housing facility the ability to find another representative without having to reapply for a lost seat.

"One of the main concerns is that on-campus will lose their seat at the beginning of the year. This will not count against you," Secretary Juliana Abercrombie said.

Student Connection made promises to the on-campus and organizational caucuses to re-evaluate this situation and find a better way to hold the individual senator accountable for absences.

"We will be sitting down in the fall and figuring out how to switch the responsibility from the organization to the individual," President Matt Whitlock said. "The way the bylaws read now, [housing facilities] have 14 days [to find a senator] at the beginning of the year and they are done. This is going to give us some time to speak with them and communicate."
Senate will reconvene next semester.


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