SGA Senate plans to focus on engagement, ethicsBy Elizabeth Manning | 01/17/2012 11:10pm
The Student Government Association begins the spring semester with a flood of new ideas and plans for the future.
In the coming weeks, several bills will be proposed, including one that would allow any student on campus to have the opportunity to write legislation. Students can go on the SGA website and submit a piece of legislation they want passed, and have it presented on the senate floor.
Ryan Flamerich, Speaker of the Senate, said this bill was the first in a series aimed at giving students more of a voice within the SGA.
“We hope that this bill will really expand the power of students on campus in relation to the SGA,” Flamerich said.
Another bill planned for later this month will give students the right to argue any legislation. Students can petition and have their case heard in front of the judicial board.
The Senate Ethics Code is another piece of legislation proposed to extend powers to students. Following events in September that led to the resignation of many SGA members, the code will hold the senate accountable.
The code is designed to hold officials accountable and will allow the SGA to withhold funding and payment from officials who are not doing their jobs.
Other plans for the spring semester include a permanent memorial located at Marr’s Spring, beside ten Hoor Hall, honoring the students who died in the April 27 tornado, as well as any students who have passed while attending UA.
Senator Kirkland Back and Creative Campus are planning the Druid City Arts Festival, a week of events dedicated to the arts, while another senator is planning a series of events highlighting Black History Month.
A battle of the bands concert is also in the works. It will feature a number of local and student bands, and the proceeds will go to the SGA scholarship endowment fund and towards a student body marker on the 9/11 memorial in NYC.
Elliott Bell, a member of the student affairs committee on the SGA Senate, is currently partnering with Jonathan Thompson and SGA Attorney General David Simpson to spearhead a plan to help feed hungry students at UA.
“Basically we’ve seen a need for such a plan, with over a third of the state unemployed and tuition hikes, students don’t have the funds necessary,” Bell said.
Bell also said they had noticed SGAs at other colleges across the country implementing similar plans, such as in California, where tuition rose 8 percent in fall 2011. Funding for the student meals could come from a variety of places.
Bell mentioned the idea of funding through the administration in the form of gift cards, but the most probable idea would be to use the leftover meals of students on meal plans at the university.
While the plan is still not definite, the SGA will negotiate with Aramark to use around 10 percent of unused student meals and to be placed into a fund for students who are deemed in need of them. The plan is currently projected to be available for students in the fall 2012 semester.
Senate Communications Director Austin Gaddis stressed that the main goal of SGA for the semester.
“In light of all that happened with SGA last semester, we have really tried to make
SGA something that is truly representative of all students,” Gaddis said. “With the improved senate, the overlying theme we can take from it is that we are doing all we can to make the students feel more involved and welcome.”