Student Government Association (SGA) President Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C) and Executive Vice President John Priddy (19C) are planning to charter international student groups and black student groups as SGA executive agencies.
The clubs would be reorganized under two umbrella groups, one for international student clubs and another for black student clubs. Ma said the executive agency charters would provide more support for “underprivileged clubs” who do not receive sufficient funding.
Ma is working on the umbrella group for international student groups, and Priddy is focusing on the umbrella group for black student groups. Priddy planned his initiative in response to a demand made by the Black Students of Emory, a student group that formed proposals in 2015 for the University to create an equitable school environment for black students. Priddy also said that his initiative focuses exclusively on fulfilling these demands from the Black Students of Emory and not other cultural groups.
“Maybe we will get all the black student organizations [to] become a black student council and would be directly under SGA as an executive agency,” Ma said. “My thought is also to work with international students to try and create a primitive organization of international student council to oversee all the international student organization to give them more support as well.”
To be considered for an executive agency charter, an organization must demonstrate that they serve all undergraduate divisions with no more than 66 percent participation from students in the College. They must also “demonstrate to the Legislature that it is logistically unfeasible for the organization to carry out their mission under an undergraduate divisional council,” according to Bill 50sl30.
“I have never talked about taking away all the cultural clubs from College Council (CC),” Priddy said. “I’ve just thought about ways to make sure that the funding for black student groups was equitable.”
No official bill for the plan has been proposed as of Tuesday night.
SGA Vice President of Communications Tiffany Haas (19C) told the Wheel that black student organizations qualified for executive agency status because they have organizations in every divisional council, but she said Ma would have to confirm if international student organizations fulfilled the requirements for executive agencies.
“I think it was something he wanted to do, but it is going to have to be unrelated to [Priddy’s] initiative. It’s different requirements. There might be a Chinese student group in every divisional council, but likely not,” Haas said. “This was listed as a specific demand of black student groups to make Emory more inclusive.”
Haas said the initiative has only been discussed during SGA executive board meetings and did not know which, if any, legislators would be involved.
SGA Vice President of Diversity and Equity Maya Foster (17Ox, 19C) is assisting Priddy with his initiative.
“Once it becomes more concrete, and [Priddy and Foster] consult the attorney general to see how that would work constitutionally … I think that would be when they would bring it to the legislature,” Haas said.
Ma said he has discussed his initiative with BBA Council President Jay Krishnaswamy (16Ox, 19B) about moving BBA chartered cultural clubs into executive agencies. Krishnaswamy told the Wheel he was aware of the initiative, though he did not know extensive details.
Krishnaswamy said he would discuss the initiative with Goizueta Black Student Association (GBSU) President Jason Wedge (19B) to determine whether the initiative is in the club’s best interest.
Haas said Priddy and Ma have discussed the reallocation of funds that come with chartering executive agencies with other divisional council leaders such as CC President Radhika Kadakia (20C) and CC Vice President Hemal Prasad (19C).
“I think they’ve been open to the idea because they’d be able to reallocate funds,” Haas said. “Mostly funds would be taken from each divisional council to be put under this executive agency so that it would be easier for the black student groups to get access to the funds they need.”
Haas said she was unsure of how much the funding would change for black student organizations, but Haas said clubs would be able to determine how to allocate their funding.
Prasad said that although he understood the reasoning behind the initiatives, he thought the initiatives would create cultural councils, not executive agencies.
“Moving a substantial number of CC clubs to its own executive agency is going to be a monumental task. That’s going to be brand new infrastructure for that executive agency,” Prasad said. “I wouldn’t call it an executive agency. I would personally call it a cultural council because they need an executive president, they need a VP, they need their own form of funding administration for chartering, they need their own legislature, their own judicial body.”
Prasad said the initiative is “taking it a bit too far in terms of bureaucracy” and suggests clubs with funding issues should contact CC Vice President of Finance Teresa Wang (20B).
“We’ve identified parts of our monetary policy that could specifically help these clubs in getting what they want,” Prasad said. “We have a monetary policy override which can override parts of our monetary policy that our vice president of budget sees fit. We think we already have the tools already in place to help these clubs. We don’t think it’s a good idea to necessarily build a council from the ground up.”
Ma said he expects to present a bill to create an executive agency by the end of the semester, but Priddy said the bill may take more time to develop.
“I think it could take more time because it is a lot of talking to different groups and getting different groups brought under,” Priddy said. “[This is] not something that’s been done before. There’s still [things we are] thinking about.”
Ma said he is unsure of whether the black student club and international student club executive agencies will be in a combined or separated bill.
Priddy and Haas said organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter at Emory, Black Student Association (BSA), African Student Association (ASA) and the Black Pre-Law Society could be moved under the executive agency. Priddy is still meeting with other black student organizations. Haas said she was unsure of the exact number of clubs that would be moved under the executive agency.
The Wheel reached out to BSA, ASA and GBSU for comment but clubs either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.
When asked if other cultural clubs could petition to have an executive agency, Haas said cultural clubs would need to complete an audit to “see where their needs are” and see if they met all the requirements of an executive agency.
Correction (10/3/18 at 4:40 p.m.): The article originally stated that EBSU could be chartered as an executive agency. EBSU is actually under Campus Life, not SGA, and would not be affected by Priddy’s proposal.