The final SGA meeting of 2017-2018 saw another heavily debated topic, and one student came forward to voice her concerns about SGA’s conduct this year.
Michelle Bonner, a sophomore computer information major, works in the Military Student Center. She spoke on behalf of all the cultural centers.
Act No. 6 to create student liaisons for the student cultural centers was tabled last week.
“I spoke to all the centers and we were really disappointed and angry about the discussion on Act 6,” Bonner said. “A lot of the students use the centers as a safe place. That’s where they go vent their frustrations, that’s where the go talk to other people about concerns about the university.”
Some senators were not aware of the number of students the centers reached in last week’s meeting.
“All the centers combined have about 4,000 to 5,000 students that come by,” Bonner said.
In the last SGA election, less than 1,000 students voted.
“We haven’t seen your presence in the centers unless you’re campaigning, and that’s not okay,” Bonner said. “The centers represent a huge part of the student body, but we never see you there. All the centers want representation.”
SGA does leave 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting for students to express concerns.
“Some students, they are parents, they have kids, they have jobs; there’s other priorities and we can’t always come here for the first 10 minutes of the meeting,” Bonner said.
Afterward, President Frank Burns announced the 2018-2019 budget, which is $87, 500. The budget covers advertisement, campus sponsorships, EC/Senate/Tribunal expenses, GHOST, Homecoming, Mud Bowl, operational expenses, professional development, scholarships, SOC allocations, and the Big Event.
Resolution No. 17 passed unanimously. The legislation was tabled last week so Sen. Stephon Jenkins could do more research. The resolution is to send a formal letter to the Library suggesting that they extend the time students are allowed to check out laptops from three to four hours. There are 30 laptops available for checkout.
Resolution No. 19 to send a letter of recommendation to the Montgomery County Highway Department suggesting that a pedestrian light be put between the Sundquist and Maynard buildings, passed unanimously as well.
Act No. 6, which was thoroughly debated last week, was tabled indefinitely and rewritten as Act No. 11 which passed unanimously. The previous act had issues with the wording, and the rewritten act fixed those issues. The act will require five senators to act as liaisons between SGA and the cultural centers: The Military Student Center, The Hispanic Cultural Center, The Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center, The Office of Disability Services, and the Adult, Nontraditional, and Transfer Student Center. The liaisons must meet with their centers at least once a month.
Act No. 8 to require senators to draft at least one piece of legislation per semester passed with one opposing vote and one abstention. The previous ruling only required senators to write one piece of legislation per academic year.
The longest debate of the evening was on Act No. 9, written by Sen. Dereka Jones. The proposed act would require SGA members to complete Green Zone and Safe Zone Training. Both pieces of training are offered by the APSU Diversity Committee.
While these pieces of training are normally offered for APSU faculty and staff, some student organizations such as The All State staff, have completed them.
Safe Zone training is a 90-minute program that teaches people how to be supportive of students who identify as LGBTQ+. Green Zone is also a 90-minute program that teaches people how to support military-affiliated students.
Some senators expressed concern about the training being “required”, because SGA members who disagree with ideas expressed in these meetings may feel “uncomfortable.”
Others disagreed, saying that SGA members are there for the students and senators should not feel uncomfortable learning about the military and LGBTQ+ students.
The SGA website states that “Student Government Association serves as the voice of the student body.”
After a debate, the act failed with the majority of senators voting it down. However, Safe Zone and Green Zone training was added on as a subsection to Act No. 10.
Act No. 10 creates a Senator Orientation Committee to provide training for newly elected senators. This act passed.
SGA will reconvene in the Fall 2018 semester with a new Senate and Executive Board.