The Student Government Association appointed a new freshman senator, passed three resolutions and rescinded a bill during the SGA meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
Ryan Honea, a new freshman appointee, was sworn in by giving oath of office led by Chief Justice Kelsey Smith.
Honea said he hopes to become a local politician eventually.
“I really love APSU and would love to put in more work to make it a better campus for all of us,” Honea said.
Sen. Chris Hayes told the senate he supported Honea.
“He is a wonderful individual,” Hayes said. “[Honea] is a very motivated. He is a great addition to the SGA.”
Senators voted Honea in unanimously.
Jake Lowary, advisor to The All State, addressed senators regarding Resolution No. 18 during time allotted for student concerns. The resolution intended to reinstate advertising funds to The All State, which were taken away in spring 2013.
“The job of the media is to hold government accountable, just like the job of our readers is to hold us accountable,” Lowary said, explaining the importance of separation between media and government in journalists’ code of ethics.
Lowary addressed the concern of SGA members not being allowed to write for The All State, which would be in opposition to the bylaws of The All State, as with any news organization.
“It jeopardizes our credibility,” Lowary said.
Sens. Daniel Pitts and Benjamin Pafford sponsored Resolution No. 18.
During commentary on the bill, Sen. Jed Dugger said he was originally opposed to it “because of everything’s that’s happened with The All State and the SGA,” but had decided to support the legislation.
Dugger said he believed Act No. II, the bill that defunded The All State in spring 2013, was “an attempt to influence news coverage.”
Dugger said the money not going to The All State as a result of Act No. II was not being used “effectively.” Dugger said he hopes the bill will “positively affect the lives of people who work in The All State.”
Sen. Chris Tablack said he initially thought the bill was “vindictive.” Tablack said he now realizes not funding The All State through advertising is “negatively impacting students.”
Tablack also said The All State is aligned with the Quality Enhancement Plan’s values of student engagement and recommended that some of the money be earmarked for a student or students to do public relations and marketing work.
Pitts said the bill acts as a precedent and will allow the SGA to “go back to business as usual,” with The All State.
Resolution No. 18 was passed with one opposing vote and one abstention.
Sens. Thomas Thornton and Taylor Gaston summarized Resolution No. 19, which aims to address the visibility issue with the speed bumps on Drane St.
The resolution will send a recommendation to the Safety and Roads Committee to add a reflective strip of lights in the area so drivers will be able to see the speed bumps more clearly. The bill passed with a unanimous vote.
During new business, four pieces of legislation were presented.
Resolution No. 20 recommends the “development of student study spaces in academic buildings and open access to said buildings to students after hours.”
According to the bill, the Woodward Library is the only area on campus open for studying after 10 p.m. and is “undersized for the campus size.”
The resolution references the Sundquist Science Complex as an area which will present “a greater amount of open space” for students to study.
Students will, according to the bill, be able to access areas such as this with a swipe card, which will prevent security being “compromised.” If passed, the resolution will go into effect this semester.
Hayes and Pitts sponsor both Resolutions No. 20 and 22.
Resolution No. 22 will “voice student opposition to Tennessee State Senate Bills 1608 and 2493.”
If passed, the Tennessee Senate bills would “restrict funding for student organizations on public campuses in the state of Tennessee.” The bills were written in response to a University of Tennessee at Knoxville event called Sex Week.
The bill says “students themselves best understand the needs of the student body,” and that funds should be allocated in an unbiased manner.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s SGA has already voiced opposition to the bill.
Sen. Lauren Williams said she is against the measure to restrict where student activities fees go.
“We will lose so many organizations, which are part of the college experience,” Williams said.
Hayes said the Tennessee Senate bill aims to restrict organizations to petition money based on their size. Hayes said he disagrees with this because it measures the organizations on size rather than “valued student interest.”
Tablack made a motion to suspend Robert’s Rules so the senate could immediately vote on the bill.
Resolution No. 22 passed unanimously.
Sen. Tabitha Montague presented Resolution No. 23, a measure to repave the parking lot beside Sevier Hall, which has “common accidents.” The bill would recommend that the Physical Plant create slanted spaces in the lot, which would be “more efficient,” according to the bill.
Resolution No. 21, sponsored by Hayes and Tablack, recommends that Chartwells provide more vegan and vegetarian options.
The bill was rescinded after SGA President Mike Rainier spoke with Chartwells representatives about the issue, which they agreed to take measures to mitigate.
Dean of Students Greg Singleton appointed Pitts, Brena Andring and Molly Silkowski to the committee selecting Mr. and Mrs. Gov, an award given to graduating seniors.
Smith announced the two senators appointed to the Mudbowl Executive Committee: Baylee Farrar and Williams. Smith also said SGA election dates are Tuesday, April 1, to Thursday, April 3.
Rainier said the Physical Plant is “working hard” on enacted legislations that have been sitting for a period of time due to lack of initiative.
Rainier told senators he is working on a document of legislation that hasn’t been enacted after being passed. Rainer said he plans to display the document during the next meeting.