With the exception of maybe two weeks, I have had every Wednesday available this semester. However, this is the first meeting of the Student Government Association that I have attended since the Sept. 22 meeting last fall. Why haven't I attended any meetings this semester? I don't know, honestly. Am I going back next week? I don't know.
It's not that I felt out of place there. That's nothing new. I've always felt out of place at SGA meetings, despite attending them for over six academic years, with near-perfect attendance. The reason I've always felt out of place there was because, despite over six years of attendance, I have never been a member of the SGA. For four years, I covered the "SGA beat" for The Concordian, then I moved over more toward blogging about the SGA after I realized I was no longer wanted at The Concordian.
Here's an example of what I used to do, from October 29, 2009 - http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2009/10/1028-sga-meeting-report-and-usual-etc.html
So, I walked into the State Room not knowing what was going on, having not really kept up with things on my own. I can't seem to ever get out of "journalism mode," as I took notes on my BlackBerry. Below is what I got from the meeting:
90 percent of committees were canceled by the committee chairs. Because of this, the SGA members will not be punished for not being able to make it to a committee. Unless the chairperson submits an excuse, they will be counted absent from their committee that week, per Vice President Dustin Blankenship's orders. Blankenship was not present at the meeting.
The Ombudsman received an anonymous complaint about an SGA Executive. The complaint will not be investigated until somebody steps forward and takes credit for writing it.
The Business Manager, Adam Pauley, presented three budgets and asked for approval from the Senate. The amounts were $1500 for the International Club, $1000-something for the Roth 5k Walk/Run, and $95 for Circle K. I don't remember what it was for, but what the $95 would go toward was mentioned by Pauley. I don't believe he said what the International Club's funds would be for. All three budgets passed.
The Concord University Student Affairs Committee (CUSAC, pronounced Q-Sack) met last week. Committee member Adam Pauley said that they were "getting somewhere" with the one-card system. If this comes to pass, Concord would have one identification card that would serve multiple purposes. Pauley said that this has been an issue for a while, bringing up that it was talked about last year when he was a freshman. I'll point out that this has been an ongoing issue since I was a freshman, in 2004.
The Spring Fling schedule will be released next week. Click here and scroll down to #5 to read about last year's Spring Fling.
A "safety walk" with Concord President Gregory Aloia will be next Wednesday, March 23, at 9 p.m. They've done these for the last couple years. They walk around at night and look for areas that could be dangerous.
Publications committee report was given by Crystal Poe. She said that a member of the Safety committee talked to her about looking into ways to get the campus police officers known better to students. She also said she had updated the SGA's Facebook and Twitter regarding the ongoing SGA elections. More on that later...
The Dining committee chair met with Randy Keaton, the Director of Dining Services. She asked about healthier food items. He told her to give him a list. She asked about having orange juice available all day, not just for breakfast. He said he'd look into the cost. On a sidenote, I e-mailed Randy Keaton over a month ago and he never responded to me.
A student was nominated for a Justice position. With Justices applicants, the current Justices give their unofficial verdict on whether or not he would be a good candidate. They said no. The SGA senate members, who have the official word, agreed with them. Kiwa Nadas made a little scene about it, which she tends to do from time to time.
The Senate agreed to the appointment of Brandon Green to the position of Faculty Senate representative.
The SGA discussed whether or not to allocate $10,000 to bring in an architect company to look around the Student Center and see what improvements need to be made. I'll probably look into that more at a later date.
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Those are the main notes from the meeting. A couple obversations:
I've always hated the "Country Club" phrase to describe the SGA at times. What people mean by that is that the SGA is run by the same group of friends/Greek members and has an agenda that isn't always serving in the students' best interest. While that has definitely been the case at various points over the years, I don't like the Country Club phrasing.
Is the "Country Club" effect happening to this year's SGA? Looks like it. Is this a bad thing? For the short-term, no. In the long-run, probably. The SGA group that I saw in the State Room today looked like a "clique" in a way. As long as they're getting things done that will benefit the students, like the Student Center renovations and other things, I don't see a problem with that. It's good to be tight-knit and together on things. The problem comes when people are *too* together on things.
The fact that the justices disagreed on a nominee is very good. It means they're not just saying okay to whoever the President puts in front of them, something the Senate has been guilty of in the past. Hopefully the SGA stays on the same page, but can disagree on things in a healthy and effective manner.
Read the front page story in The Concordian this week. It's by Samantha Ricketts, the Editor-in-Chief, and offers a sort of breakdown on Greek involvment in the SGA. Basically, there are a lot of Greek students in the SGA. Much like the one-card system, that is something that has been an issue since my freshman year. That's a much-more entertaining issue, something I may blog about later (kind of like how I blogged about the 2006 SGA Elections last year).
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One last note, and one last link. Before the meeting earlier, I ran into Ashley Hicks. We chatted for a couple minutes about school and then it turned to SGA. I knew the elections where happening, but I had no idea who was running. She told me that all the contests were uncontested and mentioned that Grace Hurney would be the next SGA President, once the formality of counting the votes is completed this Friday and the results are announced next Wednesday.
As I wrote earlier, the Publications committee chair announced that she had updated the Facebook and Twitter with election information. So, I get excited and head over to Facebook after the meeting to find a list of the candidates running, aka next year's elected officials. I scan the page and find... nothing. There's a status update that says there is a note with names in it, but I don't see it.
Who's running for positions in the SGA elections this year? I don't know. Find Ashley Hicks and ask her.
Read this blog I wrote in November 2010 about SGA Transparency. Looks like it still applies - http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2010/11/sga-transparency.html