Photo and story by Hannah Adams / Contributing Writer
The MTSU Student Government Association met in the Student Union Building’s Parliamentary Room Thursday for their last formal meeting of the semester.
Before moving on to old business, SGA President Courtney Brandon announced that a previously discussed piece of legislation, “Resolution 8-18-S,” wherein Aramark would contact SGA before making changes to food services, had an update.
“They went into a long spiel about how they already talk to student organizations and SGA before making certain decisions and ended by saying they would not make a contractual commitment coming to SGA, but they would continue seeking our opinion before making decisions,” Brandon said.
The first order of old business was “Bill 2-18-S,” or “A Bill to Amend the SGA Constitution.” Sponsored by Sens. Jonathan Cieka and Abbi Thompson, this bill was designed to reorganize the existing constitution. No content would be removed or changed within the document; instead, the purpose of the legislation was to better arrange the constitution to make it more readable and organized.
Since it was last discussed, nothing changed within the bill. Seeing no debate, the bill quickly moved on to another round of votes and passed.
Next was “Bill 3-18-S,” sponsored by Sen. Bre’Yhana Johnson. This bill would appoint a pre-existing position within the constitution of a liaison who would promote SGA through social media and would represent SGA to the student body. This is a position that would be officially appointed by the SGA vice president of marketing and would take some of his or her workload.
Although nothing had changed in the bill, Sen. Kobe Hermann expressed his standing views of the legislation.
“I think it’d be a great test run, and if we decide that position isn’t really necessary, then it’s not in the Constitution that the next (vice president of marketing) has to appoint it,” Hermann said. “I don’t see it as necessary, and I encourage everyone to vote no on this.”
Other senators opened up with their support of the bill and the important impact it would have on the student body’s understanding of SGA.
The bill was put through another round of votes and passed.
“Resolution 10-18-S,” or “MTSU Campus Beautification Day,” sponsored by Freshman Council member Gabriella Morin was the next legislation. Originally titled “A Resolution to Promote Campus Beautification,” this resolution would invite students to clean the areas surrounding the Walker Library, Walnut Grove and the field and parking lots in front of Student Union Building. The beautification event would take place in the spring on the first available Saturday in April, meaning it would not clash with SGA’s “Big Event” that year. In the past, senators had expressed concerns that the resolution would put the regular maintenance crew out of work for the day. Vice President Monica Haun assured that the crew would simply clean somewhere else for the day.
In the newly revised resolution, however, it is stated that the regular workers will not be on campus as they do not work on weekends.
The debate led with minor wording rephrasing and quickly moved on to suggestions of test-running the legislation before passing it. Sen. Nathan Watkins suggested that this might be better suited for the Freshmen Day of Service, annually. Vice President Haun pointed out that last year’s Freshmen Day of Service had a poor turnout and cautioned against making this legislation stand in for the freshmen event.
After no further debate, the resolution was put to a vote and passed.
Sen. Jordan McBride then took the stand to present “Resolution 23-18-S,” or “Greek Row 24 Hour Residential Parking.” The issue brought with this legislation was that residents who live on campus near the intramural field feel unsafe when the field is in use and on Sunday evenings. Often times, they have to walk a far distance at nighttime when the field is in use and feel unsafe in doing so. People will also park on lawns and curbs during high traffic times, which creates further parking issues for residents who live in the area.
Therefore, this resolution would request that MTSU Parking Services designate Greek Row parking as Red lots for residents living in that area 24 hours, seven days a week. Parking Services would also change official signs to enforce this new rule.
Sen. Chance Cansler pointed out the Student’s Code of Conduct already states that the colored zones are in effect 24 hours and seven days a week.
“I see this problem as more of a lack of enforcement on our campus police’s part than we needing to change anything about our current rules,” Cansler added. “MTSU already provides Raider escort for those who feel unsafe going to and from their vehicle. The service is already there to address the problems that are in this bill.”
Several senators spoke up in favor of the legislation, especially those who live on Greek Row.
“I think that the safety of just one woman on Greek Row is much more important than the convenience of people here to play intramurals,” Sen. Ally Cherry said.
The resolution, when put to a vote, passed.
“Bill 5-18-S,” or “A Bill to Mandate College Connection Event Per Semester Per College and Allocate Funds Appropriately,” sponsored by Sen. Taylor Edens, was next on the agenda. This bill stressed the importance of meeting with constituents regularly and stated that College Connection events are a great way to do so and receive some possible feedback from said constituents. Each event, however, requires funding for food and giveaways.
This bill would move to mandate that at least one College Connection event be held every semester, which would be overseen by the SGA executive branch. The executive branch would organize the right date and location where the majority of the members could attend and would mandate that the funds for these events would come directly from the SGA budget. This would go into the SGA bylaws and would go into effect immediately.
The main concern was brought up by Sen. Abbi Thompson, who said that this did not belong in the bylaws.
“We need to get out of the habit of every time we get a new idea, we constitutionalize it,” Thompson said. “I think we’re almost limiting ourselves by putting this in the bylaws because we can never change the name of it.”
The bill then failed when it was put to a vote.
Next was “Bill 6-18-S,” or “A Bill to Update the Governing Documents and their References to the Constitution,” sponsored by Sens. Cieka and Thompson. This goes along with their other bill, 3-18-S. The governing documents provide information on the changes made within the Constitution, and will serve to direct those familiar with the old layout where sections are now located.
With no questions or debate, the bill passed.
Edens brought forth another legislation, “Resolution 16-18-S,” or “A Resolution to Enforce a Stricter Attendance Policy.” This resolution was brought up by the amount of students who will have classmates sign them as present for a class they did not attend. The idea is that it is unfair for the students who do attend class regularly and that those not being honest should be held accountable. Edens would provide a letter written to professors encouraging them to act on stricter attendance policies, however she did not have a letter drafted at that point.
Several senators felt they could not pass the resolution without first seeing the letter that would be sent out, while others asked how it would affect classes where the professors do not take attendance.
The motion failed after being put to a vote.
Edens’ third legislation of the night, “Resolution 18-18-S,” or “A Resolution to Place Toilet Seat Cover Dispensers in All Bathrooms,” was next. This would enforce the installation of dispensers in buildings that do not already have them in place.
With no further debate, the resolution passed.
Sen. Vinay Vushagoni was next with his “Resolution 20-18-S,” or “Improving International Student Orientation Programs.” The proposal points out that several new international students are unaware of school policies, procedures and facilities, essentials required to fulfill basic and professional needs, traffic and road rules, procedures in applying for a driver’s license and state ID cards and starting bank accounts. The current International Students Orientation does not provide information on banking instructions, how to respond in emergency situations, state ID cards or the aforementioned issues.
This resolution would seek to improve these orientations by including information on financial procedures, campus tours, responding in emergencies, traffic and road sense, state ID cards, driver’s licenses and information on stores in and surrounding Murfreesboro.
There was nothing but praise and admiration for this resolution, specifically from a few Senate members who are international students.
“You’re going to make a lot of people happy by doing this, like international students,” Sen. Bea Dedicatoria said. “So thank you.”
Without question, the resolution passed.
The last resolution of the night, “Resolution 22-18-S,” or “Middle Tennessee Outdoor Pursuits be granted International Trips,” was sponsored by Sen. Samantha Eisenburg. Prior to 2017, Middle Tennessee Outdoor Pursuits was able to send students on trips outside the U.S. without going to through the study abroad program. As of now, the process of MTOP going through study abroad is an increased cost to students who are only interested in “outdoorsy” events rather than the “typical classroom experience” that study abroad offers.
This legislation would allow MTOP to conduct outdoor trips outside the U.S through the MTSU administration, and student letters would be sent to Sarah Sudak, the associate vice president for Student Services, in regards to their experience with their MTOP trips.
The senators showed their support of the legislation, even sharing some experiences with MTOP and study abroad.
Ending their final formal meeting on a good note, the resolution passed.
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