The 51st legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a March 19 town hall to discuss Bill 51sl58, which lowers the number of graduate student representatives on the Constitutional Council from eight to four to reflect last year’s student government split into autonomous graduate and undergraduate branches. After the town hall, the legislature considered requests from Emory Entrepreneurship and Venture Management (EEVM) and Emory International Relations Association (EIRA) to become executive agencies.
The bill, written by SGA President Gurbani Singh (18B) and Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) President Mark Neufeld (18B), creates “an equitable structure between undergraduate and graduate student governments” by having an equal number of undergraduate and graduate representatives on the Council. The Constitutional Council is the highest judicial body of SGA and has “original and appellate jurisdiction on all issues and matters of policy,” according to its website.
The bill would lower the number of positions on the Council from 12 to eight, which are held by four undergraduate and four graduate students. Currently, the number of positions on the Council reflects the eight graduate school academic deans and four undergraduate academic deans.
The bill also states that the Constitutional Council chief justice must be approved and appointed unanimously by both SGA and GSGA. The chief justice, who would alternate yearly between an undergraduate and a graduate student, will also serve as a representative on the Open Expression Committee of the University Senate.
The bill passed unanimously with nine votes, but SGA Legislature must pass the bill again next week. GSGA Legislature must also pass the bill once.
When Junior Representative Madelyn Zapata (19C) asked if the number of undergraduate representatives could be increased to eight, Speaker of the Legislature and Senior Representative William Palmer (18C) said the Constitutional Council tried zero cases in the last two years.
“Nominating a lot of people would be not doing those students much of a service,” Palmer said.
When asked about the possibility of separate undergraduate and graduate constitutional councils, Singh said that she did not believe it would be worth the effort.
“I anticipate that these eight positions will be very difficult to fill anyway,” Singh said. “[Separate councils is] just not realistic.”
The town hall was live streamed on Facebook and peaked at six views.
EEVM and EIRA requested executive agency status under SGA. Executive agencies, which were created after the SGA/GSGA split to replace the University-Wide Organization (UWO), “must demonstrate to the Legislature that it is logistically unfeasible for the organization to carry out their mission under an undergraduate divisional council,” and is subject to yearly review by the SGA, according to Bill 50sl30, which created the designation.
EEVM Co-Presidents Ayushi Ashar (18B) and Nancy Guo (19B) and EEVM Executive Vice President of Administration Christopher Dalloul (19C) proposed Bill 51sl62, which would charter EEVM as an SGA executive agency for the 2018-2019 legislative term.
EEVM, which is currently chartered under CC, “aims to spur intellectual growth and curiosity within the Emory community by encouraging entrepreneurship on campus … [and] provide students with all resources required to turn an idea into a business,” according to the group’s presentation. Ashar said that most top-tier universities have centers for entrepreneurship, but Emory does not.
Of EEVM’s 53-member executive board, 37 percent are enrolled in the Goizueta Business School, 37 percent are enrolled in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences, 22 percent are enrolled in Oxford College, and 4 percent plan to enroll in the Woodruff School of Nursing.
CC funding is insufficient to support the club, and executive agency chartering would allow EEVM to directly receive more funding from SGA, EEVM leaders said. Though EEVM has conducted multiple fundraising events, they have not been able to raise enough for its operations, according to the presentation. In Fall 2017, EEVM spent more than $22,000 but received about $6,200 from CC, according to Ashar. EEVM made up the difference through fundraisers, corporate sponsorship and grants from Campus Life, Ashar told the Wheel.
This was a first reading of the bill, and the legislature will vote on it on March 26.
EIRA Presidents Mustafa Hassoun (17Ox, 19C) and Rachel Citrin (18C) and SGA Chief of Staff Mario Karras (17Ox, 19B) proposed Bill 51sl61, which would charter EIRA as an SGA executive agency for the 2018-2019 legislative term.
The club aims to “involve students in activities which further the knowledge of international relations and global issues,” Hassoun said.
EIRA has 154 members and hosts or travels to about 45 events each school year, with about 10 to 70 people attending each event, Hassoun said. Of the 154 members, 74 percent are enrolled in the College, 13 percent are in Oxford, 12 percent are in Goizueta and 1 percent is in the Nursing School.
Citrin said that each conference requires EIRA members to pay $390 and that members usually travel to two conferences.
EIRA is ranked No. 13 in the United States for Model United Nations (MUN) and Citrin believes that EIRA could perform better if it could offer more financial aid to members to attend traveling conferences. EIRA’s total budget for the year is currently $47,630.
The bill was in first readings this week and will be voted on next week.
Singh proposed Bill 51sl60, which establishes a data collection system that would require all undergraduate clubs and organizations to record attendance, membership and participation in events that are funded using money from the Student Activity Fee (SAF). The legislature passed the bill unanimously with nine votes.
SGA previously approved purchasing card readers for data collection purposes on Nov. 29, 2017. The bill states that having the data collection system would help SGA allocate the SAF based on data from the system and not on “historical and proposed budgets.”
The bill outlines a timeline for how the data collection should be implemented during the 2018-2019 academic year. In Spring 2018 and the first week of Fall 2018, the SGA president is supposed to ensure that there are enough card readers available for all undergraduate divisions to distribute. Students may currently check out card readers through OrgSync or the Student Involvement, Leadership and Transitions (SILT) offices. At the same time, the SGA president “should ask” the CC president to discuss the new data collection system during one-on-one liaison meetings with clubs.
During the Fall 2018 president and treasurer trainings, the bill states that the SGA president should explain the data collection initiative and how it will help determine the SAF allocations for the next school year “to avoid arbitrary allocations.” In presidents and treasurers training in early Fall 2018, the bill outlines that the SGA president should again introduce the data collection initiative and the SGA communications committee should develop comprehensible graphics explaining how to check out a card reader via OrgSync.
Bill 51sl57, which was written by SGA VP of Programming Fahad Alhelal (17Ox, 19B) and VP of Student Experience Daniella Moreno-Kaste (19C), funds $263 for SGA election tablecloths and stickers in order to increase visibility of the elections to the student body and to encourage voting. The voting period for the elections runs from March 27-30, and the campaigning period is underway now. Alhelal proposed an amendment to the bill to change the amount from $263 to $283 to include the shipping price for the stickers. The amendment passed unanimously with nine votes. VP of Diversity and Equity Sean Khan (19C) raised his hand to vote for the bill, but the Wheel did not include his vote because he is not voting eligible.
SGA Attorney General Elias Neibart (20C) proposed Bill 51sl59, which determines voting eligibility in student elections. The bill removes subsection B in Part 3, Article 4 of the University Elections Code, which stated that each divisional council determined who was eligible to vote for its councils, and CC could determine whether Oxford College students were included in its Spring elections. The bill allows juniors enrolled in the College and not pursuing degrees at other divisional schools to vote for a SGA senior representative. Juniors enrolled in the Goizueta Business School can vote for a BBA senior representative on SGA. Sophomores who are enrolled only in the College and are not pursuing degrees in other schools can vote for a SGA junior representative. Sophomores pursuing a bachelor of business administration at Goizueta Business School can vote for a BBA junior representative on SGA.
College freshmen who are not pursuing degrees at other schools can vote for both SGA sophomore representatives. Sophomores and juniors that are enrolled in Oxford College and not pursuing degrees at other schools can vote for an Oxford continuee representative.
The legislature did not deliberate on the bill, which was in first readings because it ran out of time.
Bill 51sl51, proposed by The Complex President Lori Steffel (21C), allocates $486 to the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and Residence Life’s First-Year Farewell event, which celebrates the end of the year for freshmen. The bill was on the daily calendar, but legislators ran out of time at the meeting. The bill is scheduled for a vote on March 25.
Correction (3/26/18 at 10:36 a.m.): The headline originally said that SGA has altered the Constitutional Council, but the bill still needs to be approved.
Correction (3/27/18 at 9:08 p.m.): The article originally stated that Bill 51sl60 was the Elections Code changes bill and Bill 51sl59 was the data collection bill. In fact, the bill numbers they were reversed.