On Aug. 26, 2020, Ball State Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its first meeting of the semester via Zoom.
During last week’s meeting, returning senators Ruby Yantz and Jake Biller introduced a bill that proposed to establish standing rules for Senate meetings under Bold’s leadership. That bill passed at the Sep. 2 virtual meeting.
SGA had no official standing rules for its virtual meetings under Bold’s leadership, but Biller said this bill is a formality to enforce the work the Bold executive board put in over the summer.
“The standing rules are essentially a set of rules that each senate creates and agrees upon at the beginning of every session,” Biller said. “It establishes procedure and decorum that is not laid out in other places in the bylaws or constitution.”
The new standing rules proposed at the meeting include virtual policies such as voting through Zoom polling, using the “Raise Hand” button during floor debates and keeping senators muted unless they are recognized to speak.
“Chase Braden, our new parliamentarian, President Pro Tempore Dylan Lewandowksi, and [vice president] Jordyn Blythe all put a lot of thought into how we needed to alter senate and the standing rules from previous years to better suit the circumstances we all find ourselves in currently,” Biller said.
The standing rules unanimously passed with 11 votes on Sep. 2. Biller said during the discussion period the rules may be amended if SGA has in-person meetings in the spring semester.
Also at the Sep. 2 meeting, the Senate voted new senators into the at-large caucus. Senators voted in were Desmond Reynolds, Kate Winslow, James Wells, Monet Lindstrand, Grant Wilson and Nita Burton.
James Wells was the only graduate student applying for the at-large caucus and was a previous SGA president for the Summit executive board during the 2016-17 school year.
Two students, Trent McKenzie and Olive Flick, ran for the collegiate caucus seat representing the College of Communication, Information and Media.
Flick won the seat with nine of 11 votes.
In Blythe’s executive report, she said she and Temple Day, Bold’s new secretary of diversity, met with Marsha McGriff, vice president for inclusive excellence, on Monday Aug. 31. Blythe said they discussed mandatory bias training for faculty, one of Bold’s platform points.
“We got a lot of good information about what they’re already doing about bias training, which is a lot,” Blythe said. “We have a better idea of where we want to focus our attention.”
Aug. 26 meeting
During the meeting on Aug. 26, President Pro Tempore Dylan Lewandowski welcomed returning senators and said new senators would be inaugurated on Sep. 9. The senate voted in new parliamentarian Chase Braden and new Bold cabinet members.
Cabinet members are Jacob Bartolotta as press secretary, Gaven Schulz as secretary of justice, Kinsey Reese as secretary of university governance, Day as secretary of diversity, Lauren Kamykowski as secretary of environmental affairs and Marcus Jennings as the SGA archivist.
Tyra Holland was appointed as chief of staff to the Bold executive slate. Holland said she was a Bold 2020 campaign volunteer.
“I have a little bit of SGA experience just from being behind the scenes and seeing how everything works,” Holland said. “I’m very familiar with the team.”
SGA chief administrator Gina Esposito said the community service requirement for senators will be removed this semester due to the pandemic, but senators will still be expected to visit two outside organizations virtually for SGA outreach.
Blythe said Bold has already accomplished one of their 11 platform points to introduce an intercultural dialogues course addressing microaggressions and unconscious biases, which Blythe said is an Honors College course for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
SGA president Connor Sanburn said the Bold executive board met virtually every two weeks over the summer to discuss how the fall semester senate meetings would operate.
“I’m just preparing for senate when it comes to Zoom,” Sanburn said. “Beforehand, we were preparing everything for WebEx and WebEx sucks, so we switched to Zoom which makes me very happy.”
Sanburn introduced the interim director of student life and SGA adviser Abby Haworth, who will take Jim Hague’s previous role. Sanburn left senators with encouragement to continue to work hard this semester.
“Everything is weird right now,” Sanburn said. “You hear about some crazy events that happened over the weekend, over the summer, please bear with us … if we stick together, we are going to be better together.”