SGA Senate holds last semester meeting, passes multiple pieces of legislation

Photo by Eric Goodwin / Assistant News Editor

MTSU’s Student Government Association Senate held its final meeting of the semester on Thursday in the Student Union Ballroom, capping off a session that President Courtney Brandon said was marked by unity among senators.

“I think us working together worked really well,” Brandon said. “We probably wouldn’t have pulled off anything as well as we did if we wouldn’t have all worked together and all put in time and effort.”

Brandon cited efforts such as Hands Across MTSU, a campus-wide event that was meant to display a show of unity, college connection tables and the SGA “Throwback Thursday” tent that displayed the success of SGA this semester.

“All these new events that we’ve done this semester, we probably wouldn’t have been able to pull them off if (we had not) all been there to help,” she said.

Before breaking to film Brandon’s recitation of a line from the MTSU True Blue Pledge, which will be part of a campus-wide video supporting the Tina Stewart Nonviolence Fund (the video will play at an MTSU basketball game before SGA presents the legislation to Stewart’s parents), senators voted on four pieces of legislation.

The first item was a revisit of Sen. Chance Cansler’s resolution that would, in a letter written by SGA, urge MTSU President Sidney McPhee and the Board of Trustees to adopt the ‘Chicago Principles’ on First Amendment Protections.

Cansler delivered a speech supporting the resolution, which would also urge McPhee and the Board of Trustees “to do a comprehensive review of university policies in order to be rated ‘green'” by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

“We are in college,” Cansler said. “A place of knowledge. A place to encounter new, strange and fascinating ideas … That is why I stand before you to advocate for free speech.”

Cansler said the policies were “in (line) with both the letter and the spirit of the law.”

The resolution, first introduced to the Senate on Oct. 29, failed to win the majority of Senate votes required to pass. The resolution came under fire in previous meetings from senators concerned with the intent of the resolution, its effect on minority communities at MTSU and the relevancy of the bill.

The second item was a revisit of Sen. Abbigail Tracy Thomson’s bill that would introduce changes to the electoral act, most significantly a measure prohibiting the use of “MTSU department property” for campaigning by SGA candidates.

Another piece of Thomson’s bill ensures campaigning may not take place anywhere in the James E. Walker Library. Furthermore, the bill expands campaigning restrictions to disallow the use of “cell phones, tablets, or other electronic devices for voting purposes.”

The measure passed.

A resolution to implement cell phone chargers at the Fusion Rental Program at the James E. Walker Library and the Student Union Building, sponsored by Sen. Samantha Eisenberg, passed. The resolution calls for “phone chargers from all major brands” to be purchased and rented out to students.

Sen. Seth Harrell’s bill to include a recitation of the True Blue Pledge during formal SGA Senate meetings passed. The pledge was created in light of Stewart’s death in 2011.

Brandon said she hopes SGA will continue to make its presence on campus known next semester. She said that the organization’s biggest issue is awareness about its functions.

“We are a huge campus, and so you still get a student here and there (who) doesn’t know exactly what we do,” Brandon said. She said it is important to let those students know that “through this legislation, we actually make the changes on campus.”

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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