Senate talks FOIA Act, gender neutral restrooms

Senate talks FOIA Act, gender neutral restrooms

CW | Amy Sullivan

SGA senators gathered for over an hour and a half Feb. 4 to discuss various resolutions and pieces of legislation. The topics ranged from sexual assault to an SGA version of the Freedom of Information Act.

When discussion of new business began, a resolution to create a partnership between the SGA and the Capstone News Now radio program was introduced. This partnership allows a 15-minute block for members of the SGA Senate to discuss policy or upcoming events. The partnership is an extension of Say Hey SGA and would attempt to better inform students of what is going on in the Senate. The bill was passed without objection.

Junior Paige Lindgren along with sophomore TJ Parks authored the bill and consulted Jordan LaPorta, news director for WVUA. Lindgren said the time slot would be a great time to answer any questions students might have.

“Jordan has been a really good outlet for all the senators this year,” Lindgren said. “I figured he’s such a figure in the communications community that it might be a good idea to talk with him about a way to better communicate with students.”

One of the more intensely discussed topics of the night was a piece of legislation entitled, “The Student Government Association Freedom of Information Act.” According to Reid Ruggles, a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering and the author of the legislation, the act would essentially “help the SGA be more accountable and transparent to the student body and make sure that we’re not having any closed door dealings, and things that just wouldn’t be good for the SGA to do.”

The act would allow 10 days to publish all documents relevant to an FOIA request, and failure to do so could result in the impeachment of officials. Only organizations registered with The Source would be able to file FOIA requests. The act has been sent to committee for further discussion.

A series of resolutions concerning the equality of the LGBTQ+ community were also introduced. The first of these resolutions, written by Sean Ross, a senior majoring in political science, would encourage the University to create more single-stall restrooms on campus that are “gender-inclusive”.

“What we’re really advocating for is just more of the single-stall inclusive restrooms to provide a safe campus experience,” Ross said. “We’re going to send it to a lot of figures and administration.”

Ross also presented an act to include gender identity, gender expression and ethnicity to the SGA Code of Law’s non-discrimination policy and an additional resolution to call on the United States Congress to pass the Equality Act.

“All my resolution is doing is just being a voice for our student body,” Ross said. “It’s important so we can do whatever we can.”

The final piece of legislation of the night, written by senators Alli Selman, Patrick Fitzgerald and Alex Smith, called for the advocacy of implementing a one-strike zero policy regarding sexual assault. If implemented, a student would be expelled from the University if found guilty in a sexual assault case.

Order of Events

Roll call vote on old business. Bill tabled indefinitely.

Resolution 62 introduced, calling for partnership between SGA and the Capstone News Now radio program. Resolution passed.

Legislation introduced to give $44,000 to the Financial Affairs Committee passed.

“The Student Government Association Freedom of Information Act” introduced and sent to committee.

Resolution 63 introduced. Calls for the U.S. Congress to pass the Equality Act. Resolution passed.

Resolution 64 introduced. Calls for UA facilities to change signage on single-stall restrooms. Resolution sent to committee.

Bill 25 introduced. Calls for SGA to include “gender identity and gender expression in the SGA equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies.”

Act 23 introduced to “authorize funding for the powder to the people 5k run”. Legislation passed.

Bill 26 introduced to amend the SGA constitution. Referred to Rules Committee.

Resolution 65 introduced to condemn sexual assault by students at The University. Resolution passed.

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