The 52nd legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) convened on Monday night to discuss bills for a new ad hoc committee to review SGA’s governing documents and a bill that would reintroduce joint candidacy in SGA presidential and vice presidential races.
Ad Hoc Committee to Review Governing Documents
Speaker of the Legislature and Sophomore Representative Lori Steffel (21C) introduced Bill 52sl36 to form a committee to review and address inconsistencies in SGA’s governing documents.
“There is a lot of language that … preceded the GSGA-SGA split that needs to be amended because it is not relevant to our current structure,” Steffel said. “Whether it takes the form of a committee or individuals working on this, I think it is something that we should really address because it is a pervasive issue.”
Steffel said she hopes SGA Attorney General Kaia Ordal (17Ox, 19C), who, according to Steffel agreed to assist, would lead the initiative. Ordal did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Most SGA legislators supported the proposal, but Sophomore Representative Zion Kidd (21C) said he felt the creation of an official committee was unnecessary, as reviewing SGA’s governing documents is already part of the attorney general’s responsibilities.
“It’s like creating a body that does a job that already exists,” Kidd said.
The bill was tabled and added to next week’s agenda.
Legislature Debates Joint Candidacy in SGA Elections
Kidd, Oxford Continuee Representative Dezmon Scott (17Ox, 19C) and Senior Legislator Owen Lynch (17Ox, 19C) proposed Bill 52sl37, which would amend the Election Code and require SGA presidential and vice presidential candidates to run on a joint ticket.
The bill would reverse an amendment made by the 51st legislature on Feb. 5 that prohibited joint candidacy.
The bill says joint candidacy should allow for synergy between candidates that will improve the functioning of SGA.
Kidd said he thought that having a president and vice president with different ideas often made SGA less efficient and resulted in a “power dynamic struggle.”
SGA President Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C) argued against the bill, saying that running on a joint ticket would decrease holistic representation of the student body.
“Two separate candidates can represent a much larger population,” Ma said. “If they are good friends, they might have similar constituencies.”
Executive Vice President John Priddy (19C) echoed Ma’s sentiments, adding that a joint ticket might discourage students from running for SGA positions.
“If you require people to run on a joint ticket, that’s going to dissuade people who don’t have SGA experience [or] feel that they don’t know enough people,” Priddy said. “People should have the option to do whatever they want with their campaign.”
After the legislature did a first reading of the bill, Steffel moved it to next week’s daily calendar.
Club Audit Committee Moves Forward
SGA BBA Liaison Geoffrey Tseng (19B) updated legislators on the club participation audit, reporting that, of the 173 clubs that receive Student Activities Fee (SAF) funding, 126 submitted their audit information by the deadline.
“[The submission rate] is a lot higher than I expected,” Tseng said.
The committee required clubs to submit membership information on school affiliation, names, ID numbers, emails and event attendance.
Tseng said the committee will be extending the submission deadline for certain clubs with special circumstances.
“Honestly, there were a variety of reasons for extensions, including but not limited to religious reasons, submitting incorrect or outdated information, etc.,” Tseng wrote in a Nov. 13 email to the Wheel. “We addressed them on a case by case basis, and there were only a few.”
The club audit committee will begin analyzing the data gathered from current submissions within the next week, according to Tseng.
Finance Committee Discusses Solutions to SAF Budget Issues
Freshman Representative Mo Singhal (22C), who spoke on behalf of the SGA Finance Committee, said the committee is examining the possibility of establishing an endowment for SGA to fix budgetary issues with the SAF.
“It would be alumni donating to the SAF fund, which we would then split out according to the same split we have always had and so, therefore, there are no arguments between College Council and BBA [Council],” Singhal said.
The Finance Committee hopes that the money from the possible endowment would help to offset the SAF budget deficiency created by the SGA split two years ago.
Ma said he met with SGA Vice President of Finance Paul Park (17Ox, 19B) and RHA President Aaron Jordan (20C) to discuss other possible solutions to raise money.
Ma said he, Park and Jordan are also considering including College Council Vice President Hemal Prasad (19C) in their meetings discussing the budgetary issues caused by the SGA split.
“We also might invite Hemal since he created a council committee to increase the SAF fund,” Ma said.