SGA disclosure resolution tabledBy Matt Mecoli | 10/09/2011 11:10pm
At their weekly meeting Thursday night, the Student Government Association Senate sent a resolution to the ethics committee requesting University of Alabama administrators to allow the release of documents relating to the resignation of former SGA President Grant Cochran.
The decision to send the resolution to committee came after Senate Communications Director Austin Gaddis suggested that passing it could create bad “PR.”
“I would like to request that this resolution be tabled indefinitely pending an answer from judicial affairs,” Gaddis said. “This kind of a resolution, basically going directly against the administration, from a PR standpoint, is not what we want at this point.”
Senator Alex Ash agreed, saying the Senate shouldn’t undermine the administration.
“I don’t think undermining the administration and also the judicial branch is a great idea,” he said.
The debate over the resolution came after UA administrators blocked public records requests sent to the SGA for documents relating to the First Year Council selections process, which was declared invalid by SGA Attorney General David Simpson two days before Cochran resigned. The administration claimed the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protected the documents.
But the U.S. Department of Education, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the law, told The Crimson White last week that the University has discretion in deciding whether or not to allow SGA records to be released.
Senator Lauren Hardison, chair of the committee on ethics, said her committee voted to table the resolution by a four to one vote, but that it could be brought back up at a later date.
“At this point in time and until the investigation has concluded, I feel that the SGA as a whole should remain united in support of the administration and the confidentiality of the individuals involved,” she said.
In tabling the bill, the committee chose not to allow it to be brought to the floor next week for an up or down vote, unless it reconsiders its decision before that time.
The resolutions committee also tabled a resolution encouraging paid members of the SGA to donate their salaries to charitable organizations, such as tornado relief.
Hardison, who sponsored the resolution, said she thought others needed the money more than SGA officers.
“I thought a resolution encouraging SGA salaried members to donate their salaries to individuals who need the money more than they do right now and who have lost everything would be a step in the right direction,” she said.