A bill to restructure the undergraduate student government will go to an undergraduate-wide referendum after it passed the 50th legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) Monday. SGA convened Monday night to host a second public forum on the undergraduate government restructure bill and vote on the restructure and diversity and equity bills.
Bill 50sl24 to restructure the legislature passed 14 for, one against, falling one voter short of quorum according to SGA’s Constitution. However, SGA Executive Vice President and Goizueta Business School senior Gurbani Singh said that the legislature has been deciding votes on simple majority since the split bill referendum. SGA President and College senior Max Zoberman said in a Feb. 27 interview with the Wheel that the legislature did not need to reach quorum to pass the bill because SGA is loosely following the pre-split Constitution so long as it does not prevent them from creating a new government structure.
There is currently a debate on the state of the SGA Constitution. All undergraduate students will be able to vote on the restructure bill in a referendum March 13 to 15 via Orgsync. A simple majority is required to pass the bill.
An amendment to the bill that would have created four new divisional councils under SGA — recreation and wellness, service, arts and media — failed to pass with a vote of 14 against, one for and five abstentions.
College Council (CC) Liaison for SGA and College senior Taj Singh read a letter from CC President and College senior Molly Zhu on behalf of CC to SGA expressing opposition to the amendment to create new divisional councils.
“Members of CC are not comfortable with this amendment because there are so many unknown details of the structure … including chartering and financial impact … and the necessary conversations with constituents have not occurred,” Singh read.
Although CC acknowledged that issues in its “bylaws have left holes in funding for groups, especially theater,” CC wrote in its letter that the issue could be explored in different ways. Singh also said that CC held an informal vote regarding the creation of new councils, and the results were 14 against and one for, with five abstentions.
Zoberman criticized CC’s actions of the last two weeks, stating that “bringing people with [CC] to plant questions during the [SGA] legislative meetings and [advocate] against the measure” was “dangerously arrogant.”
“[Their] decision was driven principally by their desire to retain authority over the number of organizations and … the percentage of the Student Activities Fee that they do, and I don’t think there was a lot of concern given to the well-being of the student communities that we were actually discussing,” Zoberman said.
College junior Ravi Doshi was the only student who was neither affiliated with College Council (CC) nor SGA to attend the public forum. Approximately six CC members, including Zhu, attended the legislative session.
Doshi, the co-president of CC-chartered club Emory Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, was concerned with the amendment to add four divisional councils after being redirected multiple times during the chartering process for his organization. Adding more councils would make the process even more confusing, Doshi said during the public forum.
An amendment to the restructure bill to make both Oxford representatives sophomores instead of one sophomore and freshman passed unanimously.
The legislature unanimously passed another amendment to the restructure bill that would require the executive vice president of SGA to serve as a delegate to the Oxford Council. Last year, Zoberman attended Oxford Council’s non-budgetary meetings as executive vice president weekly, and Goizueta Business School junior Gurbani Singh continued to visit the Oxford campus weekly this academic year, Zoberman said.
Zoberman’s and Singh’s commutes to Oxford helped foster the relationship between SGA and Oxford Council and “generate cross-campus programming,” Zoberman said.
The legislature unanimously passed Bill 50sl25, which added a standing committee on Diversity and Equity to the legislature. The bill also added a vice president for diversity and equity to the executive branch. The vice president will be nominated by the committee, interviewed by the executive board and confirmed by the legislature.
Michelle Lou (19C) is from Irvine, Calif., majoring in political science and minoring in East Asian studies. She previously served as copy chief, news editor and executive editor. She won first place in the 2017 Georgia College Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in the category Best News Article Based on Investigative Reporting for her coverage of the Spring 2017 student government elections. Outside the Wheel, she is an undergraduate research fellow at Emory’s Center for Law and Social Science; a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha; and an avid snorkler. She has interned at USA TODAY's copy desk and HuffPost's breaking news team.