Friday, October 2, 2009

September 30, 2009 SGA notes

I wrote a little bit about the 9/30/09 Student Government Association meeting already. Click here to see the entry where I post the "tweets" from mine and a few others Twitter accounts from during the meeting. There are some interesting comments on there. If you have a Twitter account, feel free to "tweet" during the meeting. It should be fun.

There were actually two SGA meetings that day. There was the regular meeting, then a "special session" was called in order to approve the Homecoming Election rules. The special meeting was interesting, to say the least. I gave a few thoughts about it in the "Twitter Blog," but basically a bunch of people walked out in an attempt to lose quorum (the minimum number of people required for business to be official).

It should be noted that there is no SGA meeting next week. Due to the "Fall Break," giving us a 4-day weekend (Thursday-Sunday), the Wednesday evening meeting was canceled.

Let's get to business, then...

* * *

The meeting kicked off w/ Russell Christian's Safety committee report ... he noted that the SGA Executive Board gave him an agenda to look into & he'll be doing that ... he also wants to improve lighting in the parking lots behind Wooddell Hall and North & South Tower

Katlyn Amos gave her Dining committee report ... she submitted a resolution to remove trays in the cafeteria ... she noted that ARAMARK, Concord's dining provider, now has a Facebook page ... said there are now more sources of protein in the cafeteria, as well as English Muffins ... television sets are gone in the cafeteria; they were given to Concord by the MTVu college channel & when Concord decided to not show that channel in the cafeteria, they were taken away ... her meetings are every Monday at noon, in the cafeteria

Senator Jenn Smith gave her report next ... she apologized for last week's long report ... noted that there was a complaint w/ "breathing issues" among some students in buildings last week due to the air conditioner being out ... it was "hot as crap," she mentioned ... she also said something about a sign-language course

I didn't catch everything about the sign-language course, but I'm guessing it was kind of controversial, as Bill Lewis pointed out on his Twitter page that she apparently "downplayed a students disability," and near the end of the meeting Jenn stood up and apologized for the comment being taken the wrong way. Guess I need to pay more attention...

If you clicked on Jenn Smith's name, you were taken to my article in the 9/30/09 issue of The Concordian about her "swine flu comments" she made during the 9/23/09 meeting. Click here to see last week's SGA blog. I don't really need to add anything to this, as I just posted both a newspaper article and blog with my thoughts on that subject. I would like to note that she did apologize during the meeting for spreading any rumors.

For the record, I'd like to point out that I enjoyed her long report from last week. I learned a lot of information about Concord's ADA issues. I wish more people had informative reports like Jenn's report and Katlyn Amos' Dining reports.

JR Davis gave the Publicity committee report ... Homecoming is two weeks away & will be their main priority ... they will be putting up signs that are both attractive to the eyes and "green"

Housing committee chair Kathryn Alvarez talked about some janitorial issues & the heat in Wooddell Hall

This is an example of a report that says nothing.

The Commuter committee report was given by a lady named Ginger [don't know last name] ... her meetings are Tuesday at 11 a.m. but nobody showed up ... she wanted to know who to call when there is nobody in the SGA office, as that's where her meetings are held ... said she will be working on getting a lounge for commuters

A funny moment occurred later in the meeting involving her. During discussion of an issue, Curtis Kearns was speaking. She was next in line to speak. As Curtis sat down, SGA President Jeff Yeager called on the next speaker by saying, "Ginger." I don't know if anybody else noticed that...

Ashley Hicks gave the SGA Higher Education committee report next ... the meetings are every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the SGA Office ... come see her if you are interested in serving on this committee

Ethics committee report was given by SGA President Jeff Yeager ... his committee has come up with some good plans for a Code of Ethics ... meetings are every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the SGA Office

Akeya Carter-Bozman gave the Multicultural Affairs committee report next ... she spoke with members of the International Club, if you'd like to know what issues they spoke about come see her ... the committee is planning some sort of "informational week"

I guess more information will be available with this "informational week" when it becomes available. This is a really good committee to have. Somebody remind me later in the week, I'm going to suggest to The Concordian Editor-in-Chief that a feature on that organization be done.

Judicial Reform committee report was given by Attorney General Bill Lewis ... he's looking into making a set amount of money students would have to pay for offenses; i.e., have a "class 1" offense, "class 2" offense, etc... and they would have certain amounts assigned to them

I've heard some rumblings that the "classes" thing may not be constitutional. I don't really have any more details than that. If anybody does and would like to add to that, feel free to.

Green Sustainability committee report was given by Gary Thompson ... didn't have much of a report, as only 6 people showed up to his meeting

"Only" 6? I bet that Ginger, sitting by herself in the SGA Office during her committee meeting, would shit her pants if 6 people showed up. But, that would probably cause all 6 of those people to never show up again...

With committee reports done, Bill Lewis gave his Attorney General report ... a flash drive that is property of the SGA is missing ... Bill thinks he knows where it is, and wants it back in a week ... after that week, he will ask the Senate to allow him to investigate the matter ... he took away the voting rights of nearly 10 organizations and noted that 5 organizations and 1 senator were close to losing voting rights

Curtis Kearns, Board of Governors representative, gave his report next ... the Board meeting scheduled for last week was postponed until October 27, & it may be postponed again until November ... Kearns said he is trying to make sure the meeting is held in October ... noted there are two new members of the Board - Elliot Hicks, replacing Ted Rogers and Steph Gattler (sp?), replacing Margaret Sayre ... Curtis also discussed a portion of steps in Wooddell Hall being roped off due to the need for repairs

Ashley Green gave the Faculty Senate representative report ... the faculty noted a few job listings that they wanted faculty members to serve on a committee for ... discussed getting forms to fill out for excusal for swine flu, but instead decided on just having the students talk to the professor

Ombudsman Brittany Keys received a suggestion for an X-Box tournament ... received a complaint about hot water in the Rahall Building ... received a complaint about Resident Assistants not being available in the dorms ... stressed that people leaving complaints need to leave an e-mail address

Business Manager Matt Belcher noted that the Budgetary committee still does not have a time to meet ... he thinks it may have to be late at night

Vice President Akeya Carter-Bozman noted in her report that flyers and "Facebook Events" will start popping up next week ... she announced the "Spirit Week" results, which were voted on last week:

Monday - pajama day
Tuesday - "rep your organization" day
Wednesday - sports day
Thursday - color day
Friday - mismatch day
Saturday - maroon & gray day

I really don't know what half of these days mean. As I mentioned last week, this looks like it will be fun for sorority girls to take part in. Mike Stanton will probably enjoy Wednesday, though...

Jeff Yeager gave his report as SGA President ... there was a resignation in the Homecoming Election committee ... after discussion of whether or not Jeff could appoint somebody, it was realized that he could ... appointed Amanda Megan Smith ...Yeager then brings up the resignation of Senator Ashley Hicks ... Hicks announces that she did not resign ... Jeff & Bill Lewis bring up a text message Ashley sent saying as such ... Hicks said that a resignation must be "in writing," and a text message is not ... Jeff said he will submit it to the Student Supreme Hearing Board as a constitutional question ... said he has attended several committees and would like to meet with all the chairs at some point this semester ... he is going to push to get a commuter lounge, and thinks that maybe the alumni lounge can be converted once they move out of the Admin building into University Point ... he noted that two people are up for the South Tower Resident Director position ... there is no swine flu at Concord, although there are cases in Mercer County ... he clarified his comments about certain professors on campus, saying that he did not say that they are not good teachers, but that they did not have what he feels to be a proper degree

I'm very interested to see what happens with the "is a text message writing" issue. I think it needs clarified, though. Maybe it is not a legal, binding contract. But, it is definitely "writing." I've written both a blog and a Concordian article on my phone. Regarding a contract issue, I feel a text is somewhere between a verbal contract and a written one.

With this issue, I feel that it depends on what is said in the text. I believe it says something to the effect of, "I resign. I will turn in my letter tomorrow." If that's the case, I can see where the text does not serve as her "written resignation." That's basically telling Jeff that she will have the "written" resignation in at a later date.

A broader aspect to look at is if a text could serve as a substitute for the "written" letter, essentially serving AS the written letter. I think it should.

This also looks like another issue for the Ethics committee. Basically, Ashley told Jeff she was going to resign, and then decided against it. Is it right to say you are going to do something, and then offer no follow up? From the sound of Jeff's report, it seemed like he was either going to appoint somebody or note that he was accepting applications.

Something to think about... if she did not plan to resign from the SGA, why would she turn in a Secretary application as a joke (which she has admitted to doing)? So, either she was serious about resigning as Senator and turned in a joke application, or she resigned and turned in a serious Secretary application, only to say she didn't resign once the GPA allegations came out. I don't know... Read last week's SGA Blog (linked somewhere in this mess...) if you have no idea what I'm talking about. 

Old Business:

Amendment 09232009A was discussed. It is for a better means of storage for SGA minutes. Voting will take place at the next regular meeting.

Amendment 09222009A was tabled until the next regular meeting. It requires opinions related to cases of constitutional interpretation to be heard and published in a timely manner.

New Business:

Resolution 09302009 failed. It would have removed trays from the cafeteria, in an attempt to be more "green."

Resolution 09302009A passed. It was a resolution creating a Religious Studies Commission.

I'm really surprised the amendment to remove trays didn't pass. The SGA's latest kick is "going green," so I figured they would be all over that. I guess the dissenters wondered what they would do for trays once the "green fad" is over.

Jeff's talked to me about the Religious Studies Commission a few times. Click here to read Wendy Holdren's coverage of it in The Concordian. It looks interesting.

* * *

So, there's the first SGA meeting. There was a small break and then the second meeting began. The sole purpose of this meeting was to pass the Homecoming Election rules. Nobody expected this meeting to go over 5-10 minutes. People were just going to read over the rules and fix a few typos or something. Nothing too big...

But wait...

That was the stupidest, most pointless meeting ever.

It started out good. Curtis Kearns brought up some good points about the section regarding hearing appeals for rule infractions.

But then...

It got to the issue of how many flyers could be hung up. A typical flyer would be an 8x10 sheet of paper with the two candidates for Homecoming King & Queen on it. The Homecoming rules say that 100 flyers can be hung up around campus.

Somebody mentioned this being too many. I believe it was Kiwa Nadas who brought up 100 flyers being "tradition." Jenn Smith brought up how they have done 50 in the past. SGA President Jeff Yeager them motioned to change the number 100 to 0.

Zero. No flyers.

You would have thought he motioned to cancel Homecoming.

After a few minutes of fevered discussion, Jenn Smith motioned to change it from 0 to 50. Long story short, that passed. It was now between 50 flyers or 100.

People in favor of fewer flyers noted that there were still going to be large wooden billboards around campus, and also noted things like Facebook groups as a means to advertise.

People in favor of 100 flyers offered up... nothing, really... they just wanted 100 flyers.

For some reason, there was about 45 minutes of discussion on this matter. After a "division" call, the vote came down to a tie. That allowed President Jeff Yeager to cast the tie-breaking vote. He voted for 50.

Then, an entire row of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority sisters stood up and left. The Alpha Sigma Alpha representative (who had been sleeping for most of the 1st meeting) got up and left. A few others behind me got up and left.

As they were leaving, the entire rules as a whole were passed, making the 50 flyers official. It was later announced that the attempt to lose quorum was not successful. The rules passed.

* * *

There's the 2nd meeting. I'm curious about this, and I'd like to use my blog as an open forum for this - why did people feel so strongly about having 100 flyers? Please, if anybody wants to inform me or anybody else reading this, please leave a comment saying why you felt so strongly about this that you got up and left as a result. You can remain anonymous. I don't really care. I just have no idea what any of your reasoning is for getting up and leaving.

As always, here's the disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

14 comments:

  1. You are right Chris; the attempt to lose quorum was not official because all the people interested in losing quorum were leaving, and no one thought to call for quorum. That's too bad.

    The commuter committee chairman's name is Ginger Boyles. I would have called out to her based on her organization, but alas, I must be needing a new pair of eyeglasses because I do good to see those signs in the back part of the room. She's got some good ideas, and I look forward to working with her on hopefully getting a commuter lounge. The coincidence that I called on her after Curtis is funny; I lol'ed when I saw it.

    We will be having a special meeting of the Senate next week to discuss and pass Akeya's Homecoming budget at the normal time, 4 PM. I am hoping that enough show up, even with the break close by, to pass this thing. The Budgetary Committee, for reasons I cannot speak for, has been extremely late this year meeting to discuss this thing. Let's hope that a quorum is met.

    Have a good weekend,

    Jeff

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  2. Jeff,

    Yeah, I was wondering at what point their leaving became "official." I guess it would have been to call for quorum. Because at that point, they were still in attendance, they were just getting up and putting up their "voting paddles." So, technically, they were in attendance but just didn't vote.

    The Budgetary process is several weeks late. This isn't good. I have faith in Matt - they just need to get together and find a time to hammer out the Budgetary issues.

    Any idea on how many need to attend to meet quorum?

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  3. You're right Chris; quorum exists until anyone claims otherwise. Quorum needs to happen with 50% of our voting members plus 1. Since the Attorney General stripped the voting rights of several members, the needed quorum number should be smaller now.

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  4. I know the student whose disability was supposedly "downplayed." She may not have used the most tactful wording, but Jenn did have a valid point. She did a lot of research into the incident in question and only acted on information she was given. Not that I'm a huge fan of Jenn; in truth, I can't stand her, but she did do her job.
    If it seemed like she was downplaying the student's disability, it's because the issue deserved to be downplayed. Please don't think I'm being heartless; disability services is an issue very close to my heart, and I'm fed up with seeing this student(who GREATLY exaggerates his disability for attention) bitch and moan about how his education is being compromised , yet he actively chooses to skip class 3/4ths of the time.

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  5. The temper-tantrum thrown by those representatives over the reduced number of flyers thing? Ridiculous.

    In most cases, the students who actually vote for Homecoming King & Queen are affiliated with an organization competing for the crown. Any other students who vote will do so based on friendships with the groups or individual candidates or word-of-mouth type advertising done by the organizations. Almost no one is going to pick out one of the approximately 500 sheets of paper plastered all over the Student Center stairwell and cast their vote based solely on that.

    As a member of an organization competing for Homecoming, I am glad the number was set at 50. The flyers do provide a fun, creative outlet for artistic students, but have been excessive (to say the least) in past years. Fifty seems like a good number to "get the word out" and showcase an organization's talent without wasting a lot of time and resources. Besides, the billboards are even more effective and reusable!

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  6. These girls did not realize that if they did lose quorum, there wouldn't have been a Homecoming election at all. If there would have been one, it would have been up to President Yeager to have approved the rules as he saw fit, if he would have used the "Maxwell Clause" at all, which after the Wes Prince debacle last year he would have prob. been hesitant to do. The move was not only ill played but also it was quite dumb and immature.

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  7. So,

    I don't understand why having less than 100 flyers is such a problem. Seems to me like it's a good thing. One argument I heard is that flyers allow a candidate to put a face with the name, and billboards do not.
    Okay, I can see that. But, having 50 flyers still lets you do that....why must you have your face out there 100 times?
    The biggest argument I heard from the large group of people who left the SGA meeting was this: "Why do groups like Philosophy Club, Concord Ceramics, etc., get to have a say in what goes on during homecoming. They do not participate in anyway, and therefore should not get to weigh in on what those who DO particpate can and cannot do. If there is something within the rules of Homecoming needing addressed, than only those groups who actually particpate should be included in the discussion to ammend the rules."

    I mean, I guess that argument makes sense...but it also seems snobbish. I don't know though -- I guess, for me, I think ZERO flyers would have been acceptable.

    ~~ JD

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  8. To respond to a few different comments here -

    The "50 vs 100" issue to me just seemed so petty.

    I could understand fighting for something you believe strongly in and staging a protest as a means of letting people know you're not happy. We did that a few years ago over tuition increases.

    They did that over 50 sheets of paper.

    It's hard to take those people seriously again, in the context of the Student Government Association.

    I mean, what are they going to do when they're faced with a real problem? Walk out of the capital building during Higher Ed. Day? Walk out of the "Concord Room" during a Board of Governors meeting?

    Getting up and walking out of the meeting was just the wrong thing to do. That's how I feel about it.

    To respond to what JD brought up about - "The biggest argument I heard from the large group of people who left the SGA meeting was this: 'Why do groups like Philosophy Club, Concord Ceramics, etc., get to have a say in what goes on during homecoming. They do not participate in anyway, and therefore should not get to weigh in on what those who DO particpate can and cannot do. If there is something within the rules of Homecoming needing addressed, than only those groups who actually particpate should be included in the discussion to ammend the rules.'"

    I agree, that is a very snobby attitude. About the only thing I can say to people who have that opinion is that they must not understand how the SGA works. The sororities & fraternities can't decide their own rules - they need a governing body (the student government association) to decide those rules. And, that governing body includes groups like the Philosophy club, the Ceramics organization, and the "gun owners club," to name a few.

    Also, the Homecoming Election rules covers conduct during the Homecoming Parade, which any organization (i.e., not Greek) is allowed to participate in.

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  9. Many non-Greek organizations participate in Homecoming, including the Lady 8s, to which I belong. I have also seen the BSU, International Club, Dance Team and even SAC participate. ANY organization is welcome to participate in the Homecoming festivities, not just the fraternities and sororities. Just because the Philosopy Club and Concord Ceramics aren't participating this year doesn't mean they couldn't join up and give everyone a run for their money next year! Homecoming is about having fun...if we wanted a bunch of drama over trivial BS, we'd all just stay home and watch Degrassi Junior High.

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  10. I still haven't heard a reason given from anybody who actually walked out on the meeting... Would anybody care to step up & offer one?

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  11. I don't know the reasons and I'm way late on this one, but I would imagine that the reason 50 flyers was such a big deal was visibility. I am affiliated now, but back before that and even as a visiting student, I took notice of the flyers and my homecoming choice was influenced, though not entirely decided, by the flyers I encountered. There were some organizations whose flyers I never saw, as they were spread so thin--choosing putting them all over campus instead of in the one main hallway-- that the 99 others from one organization crowded them out. But you could not miss those 99 all together. Strategic placement is the key, though--every well-used entrance and hallway should have flyers, and the more flyers there are, the better. Too often billboards and the like are judged aesthetically, and without much information. As much of the campus doesn't read The Concordian, flyers are usually the only way to put names and faces together. If you miss that flyer, you miss connecting that girl who always smiles at you with Nicole Coleman, or that guy who picked up your books when you dropped them as Andre Bown.

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  12. I'm even more late on this one, but that is a very interesting viewpoint.

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