Sen. Eric Powell’s controversial Res. No. 28 caused heated debates at the March 1 SGA meeting, and ultimately, the promise of a veto from President Ryan Honea, who described the legislation as “insulting” in its current form.
The meeting involved one of the most heated exchanges among senators this semester. Multiple senators voiced their opinions strongly concerning Powell’s legislation that would require SGA to read and discuss various founding documents. Those documents ranged from the Bill of Rights to the Tennessee State Constitution. The bill would also have called for the creation and requirement of a single class devoted to studying these documents.
Discussion of the resolution eventually turned to discussing what the Constitution of the U.S. means and how it is interpreted.
“This legislation is grounded in an opinion,” Sen. Colin Crist said. “What this will do is force that opinion on everyone else…and I feel that goes against the idea of the founding documents of the free exchange of ideas. You are not being forced to think a certain way.”
Crist argued SGA legislation operates independently of the U.S. Constitution, and need not be referenced with every action such as allocating plots to the NPHC or “changing the skateboard policy.”
Vice President Dylan Kellogg attempted to gather an opposing viewpoint to balance the discussion, which led to suggestions on how the legislation could be passed until Honea offered his opinion.
“The very first paragraph [of the legislation] is insulting to the majority of the students on this campus,” Honea said. “I don’t appreciate the majority of the students being told that their idea of the constitution is incorrect.”
The legislation ultimately failed with only four votes of support.
Sen. Frank Burns’ Res. No. 27 passed with a 16-7 vote and will allocate plots of land on campus to the installation of monuments honoring the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
The resolution prompted concerns about SGA endorsing a student organization or Greek life in general. Sen. Rebecca Jacks argued the resolution favors one group of students over the other.
“This [resolution] is not serving the voice of all of the students,” Jacks said.
The SGA also voted to nominate their candidate for the Distinguished Faculty Member award. The honor went to John Nicholson of the computer science department. Other candidates for the nomination included Nanci Woods, Alex King and David von Palko.
Sen. Duane Kessler and Sen. Jaden Davidson introduced three pieces of legislation to close the meeting.
Res. No. 29 would send a letter of recommendation to the Office of the Registrar of APSU to change the academic calendar to properly match the calendar of the Montgomery County School system. The resolution aims to aid APSU students with children attending school so their spring breaks will match.
Res. No. 30 calls for an extension to the time of the crosswalk on College Street to 30 seconds.
Res. No. 31 calls for the installation of surveillance cameras installed at the entrance to the Blount, Sevier and Harvill student housing buildings in reaction to cases of vandalism and theft.