UPDATED: SGA Judiciary strikes down block seating chart using code that never passed

UPDATE: The section of the Code of Laws cited by the SGA Judiciary does not exist and never passed the SGA Senate, per multiple senate sources and the SGA's public Code of Laws. 

After review by The Crimson White, it appears there is no section of the Code of Laws referencing block seating. The most recently updated copy of the code of laws is maintained here.

The bill Chief Justice Akeisha Young appears to be referencing is B-01-2015, authored by Jackson Britton and sponsored by Marissa Turk, which would have established the Student Organization Seating Board and instituted the criteria established below. According to Senate records, that bill never passed.

There is no Title XIV of the SGA Code of Laws as most recently published. Chapters 1304 and 1305 deal with awareness projects and entrepreneurial projects. 

It is unclear what impact this has on proceedings going forward regarding block seating. the Crimson White has reached out to Britton, SGA Vice President of Student Affairs Branden Greenberg, SGA President Elliot Spillers and multiple other sources for comment. This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

The SGA Judiciary today issued a unanimous opinion striking down the block seating chart issued earlier this week
According the opinion, which described in detail the new rubric process applied by the Board of Governors to select the 2015 seating chart, three appeals were sent to the Student Judiciary on the day of release, Wednesday, including one appeal sent at 12:01 a.m. The appeals alleged a violation of the SGA Code of Laws, making the released chart unofficial. 

The opinion argues that the SGA Code of Laws mandates that the Student Organization Seating Board consider "academics, campus leadership, community service and special issues" in its assessment. What constitutes "special issues" can be determined by the board, but "must include sexual assault prevention, SafeZone and mental health." Each applicant must supply evidence of involvement in these three and any other issues determined by the board, including "a letter of recommendation from the host of the event, program or training outlining the organization's level of involvement." This component should make up no more than 35 percent of the total grade. 

The new grading rubric used by the Board of Governors graded each applicant in the following manner:

  • Written application
    • 20 percent - academics
    • 30 percent - leadership
    • 25 percent - community service
    • 25 percent - paragraph responses supplied by each applicant
  • Interview
    • 35 points - leadership and involvement
    • 25 points - philanthropy
    • 25 points - academics
    • 15 points - presentation
    • 5 points - miscellaneous

Because the process did not include special issues, the rubric was not issued prior to application submission, the interview portion is derived from a total of 105 points instead of the 100 required and numerous other inconsistencies with the SGA Code, the chart was struck down. 

"The Student Organization Seating process was constructed to highlight the importance of and stance that SGA is taking in regards to transparency and fairness," said the judiciary opinion, authored by Chief Justice Akeisha Young. "We recognize the importance of Student Organization Seating to every University of Alabama student and want to ensure that everyone gets to experience gameday here at the University of Alabama. 

"For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the process for Student Organization Seating violated provisions of the Student Government Association Code of Laws. Furthermore, as a result of the inconsistencies and violation that occurred during the selection process, we recommend that the Student Organization Seating be deemed unofficial until such a time where it can be re-evaluated."

What next?

According to an SGA press release, the initially released chart will be in place this Saturday when the Alabama football team hosts Middle Tennessee State University. The judiciary recommends that a panel of University administrators oversee a new application in keeping with the SGA Code, relying on re-submitted written applications, and issue a new seating chart. 

Judicial Opinion of SOS

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