By Anna Wesche
For The News-Letter
The Student Government Association (SGA) passed two bills in their meeting on Tuesday: the CLEAR Act to establish changes to SGA’s internal committees and the Communications and Marketing Bill to create a Communications and Marketing commission for SGA.
Currently SGA is organized into five different committees: Academic Affairs, Appointments and Evaluations (A&E), Finance, Safety, Sustainability and Development (SSD) and Student Services. The CLEAR Act is designed to create and divide committees in order to improve functionality and efficiency within SGA, resulting in eight different committees. The most significant change will be dividing A&E into two different committees.
While debating the bill, Sophomore Class President Sarah Zappone expressed her displeasure with aspects of the current committee organization.
“What we have right now in place is not optimal, but [the CLEAR Act] is something we are thinking about adopting that would change everything… It would change the whole dynamic,” she said.
Executive Vice President Jack Bartholet explained that A&E is the least desirable committee among the senators due to its high demands and the significant time commitment it requires.
Sophomore Class Senator Kwame Alston asserted that although senators may not like the committee they are on, people are still needed to serve.
“You are here for the students and the students need that many people,” Alston said.
After over 45 minutes of debate, discussion was ceased, and the CLEAR Act was passed by roll call of the senators; 11 were for, 9 were against and one abstained.
The Communications and Marketing Bill, proposed by Sophomore Class President Anna Du, would create a Communications and Marketing commission for SGA, consolidating all of the different marketing initiatives of SGA and placing them under the responsibility of an appointed team of senators.
Sophomore Robert Ticzon, who served as the director of public relations for SGA last year, gave a presentation on the bill.
“When Anna approached me with the idea of creating a marketing commission, I immediately said, ‘That’s a great idea because as a team you can accomplish so much more,’” Ticzon said.
The concept of the bill had been discussed last year but action was not taken until now. The senators generally agreed that had this commission been in place last year, SGA could have done more.
A motion to end the debate on the bill was quickly seconded and approved, and the bill was passed by roll call of the senators. A few senators abstained from the vote due to disapproval of how quickly the bill was passed after so little discussion.
During open discussion, Junior Class Senator Liam Haviv expressed concerns about the current dynamic among SGA members.
“I’m worried that after watching [the discussion on the first bill]… We have spent a lot of the time arguing… and are in genuine displeasure with one another,” Haviv said. “When we’re arguing about something and going over stuff that we’re doing, it [should be] with the recognition that we’re all trying to make things better and work with each other.”
Plush emphasized the importance of members cooperating with one another.
“We are a team… We all represent the students of this university,” he said.
Senior Class Senator Leela Subramaniam shared her opinion on the dynamics of the meeting’s discussion.
“I think as a new group there are a lot of mixed personalities and so we have to learn how to play to each other’s strengths and weakness — our growing pains. Because of that, we have struggled a little bit to portray the opinions that we wanted to because it was “he said she said” instead of really focusing on the issue,” Subramaniam said.
“Now we know how each other work a little better. For the future things we discuss, we will be able to figure it out better because we know we are all fighting for the students. But we all fight in different ways and we have to figure out how to work together to do that.”