The 51st legislature of Student Government Association (SGA) convened Monday night and formalized the charter appeals process, created an Oxford Ad-Hoc Committee and funded card readers for undergraduate divisional councils with the passage of two bills and first passage of one bill.
Speaker of the Legislature William Palmer (18C) and Attorney General Elias Neibart (20C) proposed Bill 51sl34, which would formalize the charter appeals process. The Governance Committee, which heard appeals from student groups about charters, was dissolved after the SGA-GSGA split. Bill 51sl34 outlines the procedure for undergraduate clubs to appeal a divisional council’s decision to revoke a charter or deny a charter application.
An appealing student organization must notify the SGA attorney general of an appeal within two weeks after the petitioner is informed of a charter rejection or revocation, according to the bill. The attorney general would then notify the speaker of the legislature to schedule an appeal hearing before the legislature and provide a one-week notice to the petitioner and the legislature of the hearing date. Two days before the hearing date, divisional representatives must send an “overview of the rationale” behind their decision to SGA.
During the appeal hearing, the speaker of the legislature presides and the attorney general ensures that the bylaws are being followed throughout and that the petitioner is given a fair trial, according to the bill. The appellant would present first, after which divisional representatives would present their rationale for rejection or revocation to the legislature. The petitioner would then respond to the divisional representative’s statements. The legislature can question both parties, and divisional representatives may only speak when clarifying chartering bylaws or when directly asked a question by legislators, the bill said. Hearings are to last no longer than 30 minutes, but the speaker can recommend to extend the time, a motion that must be passed by the majority of the legislators present.
Once the hearing ends, the petitioner must leave the room while the legislature votes. The divisional representatives stay in the room but cannot speak unless they are questioned about chartering rules, the bill said. At least two-thirds of the present legislators must vote in favor to reverse a chartering decision. The bill does not specify how many legislators must be present at the hearing. The petitioner is informed 48 hours after the hearing of the decision.
The bill was passed unanimously in its first round of voting with 12 votes. Amendments to the Chartering Bylaws require a two-thirds vote of legislators present at two consecutive legislative sessions, according to Title III of SGA’s Chartering Bylaws.
Emory Chinese Student Association (ECSA) and Southern Poverty Law Center are currently awaiting appeals.
SGA Executive Vice President Natasha Armstrong (18B) and Oxford Continuee Representative Muhammad Naveed (17Ox, 19C) proposed Bill 51sl33 to form the Oxford Ad-Hoc Committee to improve communication between the Oxford and Atlanta campuses as well as Oxford continuees’ transition to the Atlanta campus. The SGA executive vice president and the Oxford continuee representative(s) would co-chair the committee. The ad-hoc committee would meet weekly to discuss initiatives that would improve the greater Emory community, and the committee’s sub-committees that represent each undergraduate division would meet once a week to discuss initiatives that would benefit their individual school.
The Oxford Ad-Hoc Committee would be composed of representatives from the four undergraduate divisional councils, who will be selected by the committee co-chairs. Each divisional council must decide whether to have a sub-committee or liaison position, which would create initiatives in the ad-hoc committee to better facilitate the transition of Oxford continuees to their respective schools. Applications for a committee representative would be released every fall to all undergraduate students. The committee members have no legislative voting power.
Armstrong and Naveed said they have already begun working on initiatives that would increase collaboration between Atlanta and Oxford students during freshman orientation and increase the number and frequency of shuttles between the Oxford and Atlanta campuses. The bill passed with 11 votes and Naveed, one of the bill authors, abstained from voting.
“When I was back at Oxford SGA, whenever you would present something, you would abstain from it,” Naveed said. “I wanted to make sure that I was minimally part of the debate, and that my vote wouldn’t influence the decision.”
SGA President Gurbani Singh (18B), Armstrong and SGA Vice President of Finance Javi Reyes (18C) proposed Bill 51sl35, which would allocate $500 to the purchase of card readers for the undergraduate divisional councils. The legislators said that the divisional councils were frustrated that the card readers seemed to always be unavailable. Membership and attendance at club events have not been consistently recorded, according to the bill. The data from card readers is “useful in programming, communication, outreach and planning for all clubs and organizations,” the bill said. Currently, SGA offers about eight to 10 card readers that can be checked out by organizations via OrgSync.
After SGA’s meeting, GSGA and SGA had their second joint session to discuss the GOP tax plan.