SGA Senate approves integration resolution
In its regular meeting, the new Student Government Association Senate approved a resolution proposed by SGA President Hamilton Bloom to support the complete integration of The University of Alabama’s Greek system last Thursday. Earlier in the day, the SGA Student Judiciary also announced its decision to uphold penalties imposed on Vice President for Student Affairs Stephen Keller by the Elections Board.
C&BA Senator Jonathan Hess presented the integration resolution at Thursday night’s meeting and opened the floor for debate. Bloom discussed the positive influence of the Greek system and called for continued progress with this resolution. The bill was voted to be left in its original form and passed with an overwhelming number of votes on the floor.
(See also "SGA offers new integration resolution")
In a statement released afterward, Bloom noted the progress the University and Greek system have made in the past two semesters, while adding those bodies “still have a long way to go.” He said he wants to commend students who have worked toward equality and justice while supporting students to move forward in the coming year.
“I believe the resolution passed tonight is a great solution,” Bloom said in the statement. “My administration and I are dedicated to seeing and encouraging results in the integration of both fraternities and sororities, and I believe the resolution passed tonight, in addition to the Diversity Caucus which will be introduced soon, are incredible first steps.”
This resolution comes weeks after the previous SGA Senate voted to end a resolution that would officially support the integration of the Greek system in March. In an email to the student body on April 10, Bloom listed the new resolution as one of the first he wanted to accomplish with the new administration.
“I am proud of the Senate’s dedication to integration,” he said in the email. “Although our University has come very far over the past two semesters, we still have a long road ahead, and my administration is fully dedicated to seeing and encouraging results.”
Earlier Thursday, the SGA Student Judiciary released its decision to uphold the penalty imposed on Keller by the Elections Board. The Elections Board originally ruled Keller had violated the spirit of a fair campaign when he and his staff accepted and distributed a number of fliers on election day and imposed a sanction of 75 hours of community service. The judiciary upheld the decision and sanction in their order.
The judiciary also found that the Election Manual’s policy on financial disclosures was ambiguous. The opinion ordered several changes to prevent similar situations from happening again. For future elections, the Elections Board will extend the deadline for final financial disclosure forms to at least midday of election day. Moreover, the Elections Board will have to establish a comprehensive policy and procedure for accepting amending filings for candidates. To see the decision, visit sga.ua.edu.
Two new bills were also presented to the Senate. The first proposed the addition of new senators for the positions of legislative secretary, who would be in charge of writing up all resolutions, press secretary, who would be in charge of media relations, senate budget director, who would make sure the Senate budget is being used responsibly, and the addition of assistants for the Senators.
The second bill was proposed to specify certain rules of the Senate. This resolution would develop a new attendance system, which would give a Senator demerits for unexcused absences, with the exception of medical excuses. On the fourth demerit, a Senator could be removed from SGA with a two-thirds vote on the floor. Both bills have been sent to the SGA Rules Committee.
Additionally, the elections for speaker of the Senate and secretary were held during Thursday’s meeting. The election for speaker of the Senate was between Arts and Science Senator Branden Greenberg and Engineering Senator Caleb Lundy. After both candidates gave their respective speeches, the floor then voted for the next speaker. Greenberg won 34 to 10. The election for secretary was between Arts and Science Senator Erynn Williams and C&BA Senator Gracie Willingham. Willingham won the election 34 to 11.
Secretary-elect Willingham called for a more effective way of communication and the enforcement of the proposed attendance policy.
“I would like to utilize the Twitter account we have and make sure everything is publicized, and I also think we should make a Facebook page so students can send in suggestions,” Willingham said.
(See also "SGA now accepting director applications")