Ball State SGA president presents first 'State of the Senate' address

<p>SGA president Connor Sanburn introduces himself and his slate during the final SGA debate Feb. 20, 2020, at the Arts and Journalism Building. Sanburn presented his first "State of the Senate" address Sept. 30, 2020 over Zoom. <strong>John Lynch, DN</strong></p>

SGA president Connor Sanburn introduces himself and his slate during the final SGA debate Feb. 20, 2020, at the Arts and Journalism Building. Sanburn presented his first "State of the Senate" address Sept. 30, 2020 over Zoom. John Lynch, DN

Student government association (SGA) president Connor Sanburn presented his “State of the Senate” address in the Sept. 30 Zoom meeting.

Sanburn discussed four of Bold’s 11 platform points; reduced plastic bag use, free menstrual products, an intercultural dialogues course and map app updates.

Sanburn said Bold has talked with Karen Adkins, director of auxiliary services for dining, about how to reduce plastic bag use in dining facilities.

Bold proposed to either move plastic bags behind registers so students will have to ask cashiers for them or charge students a small fee for picking up a plastic bag.

Sanburn said Bold has shifted their free menstrual products platform point to focus specifically on offering products in the student center instead of multiple buildings after receiving feedback about implementation of this point from Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management.

“Jim provided some great feedback about implementing a program like this university-wide, so we decided to look at one building first: the student center,” Sanburn said. “At this moment, we’re building an implementation plan with the student center and building a contract with the product provider.”

Sanburn said the intercultural dialogues course point has been completed. Emily Rutter, associate professor of English, said in an email Sept. 15 that she initiated this HONR 199 class with student input for the syllabus. Rutter secured a teaching grant in the spring 2020 semester to launch this course.

Sanburn said he hopes to eventually have the course “Understanding Race and Becoming an Anti-Racist” added to the University Core Curriculum, though this wasn’t included in their original platform point.

Finally, Sanburn discussed Bold’s progress on map app updates to include features for students with hearing and visual disabilities. He said the Digital Corps is interested in merging the bConnected app with the Ball State Map App because the bConnected app uses a newer code that can more easily be updated.

“This point is very large and could span past our slate, but the work we’re doing now will set the groundwork for an accessible and equitable campus,” Sanburn said.

Senators listen to SGA president Connor Sanburn deliver his first "State of the Senate" address in a Zoom meeting Sept. 30, 2020. Sanburn discussed Bold's progress on four of their 11 platform points. Grace McCormick, Screenshot Capture

Also in the meeting, Trent McKenzie introduced an amendment to SGA’s standing rules to include voting and debate policies for in-person senate meetings.

RELATED: SGA passes official standing rules for Bold executive board

The standing rules passed earlier in the fall semester only included policies for Zoom meetings. President Pro Tempore Dylan Lewandowski said during his executive report the Office of Student Life approved SGA’s request to host an optional in-person meeting once during October.

Lewandowski said he doesn’t know where the meeting will be hosted, but that senators would have the option to attend the meeting in-person or virtually. A tentative date for the in-person senate meeting is Oct. 14, Lewandowski said.

An additional two constitutional amendments were introduced by James Wells, one clarifying no legislation passed in SGA can contradict local, state or federal laws.

Wells, a graduate student who served as SGA president for the Summit slate 2016-17, was inspired to propose this amendment by a funding bill during his time as president.

“The reason for this amendment is to address some concerns from the past actions of student government,” he said. “The year after I left, there was a situation with student government’s involvement in the student activity fee committee with not giving funding to a pro-life organization, which called a lawsuit onto the university.”

The second amendment Wells introduced proposes to expand the requirements of the nomination process of Student Judicial Court.

If passed, the amendment would require students to be nominated to the court by the SGA president and voted in by the student senate with a two-thirds majority.

Finally, the senate voted in Amy Wyse, sophomore international business, economics and Spanish triple major, to the off-campus caucus. Lewandowski said after voting in Wyse, the senate only has nine open seats remaining. He said his goal is to fill two of those seats by Thanksgiving.

Contact Grace McCormick with comments at grmccormick@bsu.edu or on Twitter@graceMc564



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