SGA offers new integration resolution
Student Government Association President Hamilton Bloom proposed a resolution supporting the continued integration of the Greek community at a special session of the 2014-15 Student Senate held Tuesday night.
The resolution was the only piece of legislation proposed at the meeting, which was otherwise devoted to nominations for speaker of the senate and secretary of the senate.
A resolution calling for the integration of the Greek system was proposed at the final session of the 2013-14 SGA Senate, but it was sent to committee. The resolution died with the end of the term.
Mackenzie Brown, director of media relations for the SGA, said Bloom felt the issue needed to be addressed at the first opportunity.
“The Senate needed to meet once to nominate a Speaker and [once] to vote, so they needed to host a session anyway,” Brown said in an emailed statement. “SGA President Hamilton Bloom decided that this resolution needed to be introduced at the first available meeting.”
Bloom’s new resolution differs from the old in several ways. While the old resolution devoted two clauses to the positive qualities of Greek organizations, Bloom’s version uses six to enumerate the Greek community’s contributions, including their higher-than-average GPA, philanthropic efforts and and fraternal bonds.
Bloom’s resolution was also
not as explicitly critical of Greek organizations on campus. The old resolution claimed some Greek organizations are portrayed as having membership defined by race and that there remains a stigma surrounding the University’s legacy of segregation. Bloom’s version mentioned that several organizations have taken steps to expand their diversity in recruiting new members. The resolution then commended those organizations and called on the continuing integration of the Greek community.
Katie Smith, a former senator for the College of Arts and Sciences who presented the previous version of the resolution, said while she supported the resolution, she felt hesitant about the motivation behind it.
“Of course I support it, because I want integration, I want this campus to move forward, I want equality for all,” Smith said. “I don’t think the Greek senators expected all the negative media that came our way two weeks ago. And that’s the only reason I think they’ve reintroduced this.”
In an emailed statement, Bloom commended the steps the University and Greek system have made, but said there is still a long way to go.
(See also "Greek system must move toward integration")
“I specifically commend the students who have worked for Greek integration in the past,” Bloom said. “I believe the resolution introduced tonight is a great solution. My administration and I are dedicated to seeing and encouraging results in the integration of both fraternities and sororities, and I believe the resolution introduced tonight, in addition to the Diversity Caucus which will be introduced soon, are incredible first steps.”
Smith said she believes the new resolution will only pass because the Machine will tell people to vote for it.
“I think the fact that Hamilton reintroduced this shows that the Machine controls SGA,” Smith said. “It will most likely pass with Hamilton, a Machine candidate, versus me, someone who has gone against the system.”
Following Bloom’s reading of the resolution, the floor was opened to non-debatable technical questions. The new resolution was then sent to committee, whose membership will be determined by Executive Vice President Chris Willis.
Fourteen of the 47 senators were either absent or represented by a proxy at the meeting. At least 32 senators are required to be present for a quorum, the minimum number allowed to vote on legislation.
John Beck, a senator for the College of Education; Olivia Gobble, a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences; James Gresham, a senator from the College of Social Work; Taylor Lawhon, a senator for the College of Arts and Science; Rebecca Rose Lutonsky, a senator for the Graduate School and Bill Sanders, a senator for the College of Engineering, were all absent from the meeting and did not send proxies.
“Quorum is, I believe, 32 senators, so if we don’t have quorum – it means basically a sufficient number – you don’t have quorum it means that we cannot hold any business whatsoever, we would have to immediately adjourn,” Greg Poole, parliamentarian of the SGA Senate, said. “Actually, we have exactly the number we need with 33.”
Nominees for speaker of the senate are Branden Greenberg, a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, and Caleb Lundy, a senator for the College of Engineering.
Nominees for secretary of the senate are Erynn Williams, a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences; Gracie Willingham, a senator for the Culverhouse College of Commerce, and Caroline Morrison, a senator for Culverhouse who was represented by a proxy at the meeting.
The next SGA Senate meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 10, in the AIME Building, Room 110.
(See also "Black, white, greek or otherwise")