Student Government Association Votes on Contentious Resolutions

BY: CARI FIRRIOLI

At the Student Government Association meeting on Monday, the group did not vote to pass two resolutions, one regarding the formation of an LGBTQ group on campus and the other regarding the restrictions currently imposed on consensual sex between two people over the age of eighteen who are not married. The Student Government Association did vote yes on a resolution regarding the creation of new emails for executive members of the club in order to promote the professionalism of the organization.

Senator Matthew Finley and Senator Marjan Koffa presented the legislation on the creation of an LGBTQ group on campus with hopes that such a club would “benefit social climate” and “create a welcoming and safe campus.”  The senate meeting was highly attended and one senator commented that “[the crowd] is the largest we’ve had this year.”  Many of the spectators were members or supporters of CUAllies, the LGBTQ support club that is currently not recognized by the Office of Campus Activities.

After more than an hour of debate and various motions to table the topic, the senate voted. 13 senators voted yes, 6 voted no, and 7 abstained and since a majority was not reached, the legislation was rejected.

The Student Government Association President Kristina Pinault commented on the meeting and stated, “Senators are wholeheartedly entitled to vote the way that they deem fit; however, I do believe that last night was an example of the abuse of the Senators’ power to abstain.”

“While I have the utmost respect for a lot of members of SGA, including many senators, we were extremely disappointed with the senate’s ruling,” said Carly Tomaine, the president of CUAllies, after the meeting.  “This was a minor setback, but CUAllies is no stranger to adversity.”

CUAllies has struggled to gain recognition for many years as an official campus organization. While the organization has not been rejected by the Student Government Senate in the past, the club has continuously struggled to gain the support from university representatives. Currently, Dean Jennings provides CUAllies space in the Office of Campus Activities to conduct meetings. However, due to their non-club status, they are prevented from having funding for their events and are also prevented from opening a financial account through the Office of Campus Activities. As a result of this, all funds donated to CUAllies are managed by Tomaine.

If the Senate of the Student Government Association had approved the resolution regarding the need for an LGBTQ organization on campus the legislation would have been moved up to higher authority to be dealt with by the university’s administration.

Currently, CUAllies is circulating a petition to demonstrate the support behind their initiative. At the time of printing, the petition has 1,226 signatures from current Catholic University of America students, alumni, and various others.

The next piece of legislation was introduced by Senator Aaron Mackisey and proposed changing the code of conduct to abolish punishment for people found having sexual relations while on campus.  When the legislation was voted on, it failed to gain a majority with a total of 13 yes votes, 6 no votes, and 7 abstentions.

The meeting continued with the discussion of Senator Nicholas Procino’s legislation aiming to create a website that would be accessible to students.  Such a website would help students with homework assignments in which they have to watch a show or a movie and it would prevent the student from having to buy or rent the program.  After a few minutes of discussion the legislation it was unanimously voted upon to be examined further by the Academic Affairs Committee.

The final piece of legislation was also introduced by Mackisey. This second piece of legislation proposed to create a new email account for executives in a club.  This email would be used to reach out to people and would give off a more professional look.  After the proposal, the legislation was immediately called to a vote in what was the only legislation to pass Monday night.

The next  Student Government Association Senate meeting will be on March 13th in the Caldwell Auditorium.

2 thoughts on “Student Government Association Votes on Contentious Resolutions”

  1. So, legislation must pass with a majority of all member, not just a majority of a quorum or members present. 7 is a large number of abstentions; it would be interesting to hear why they did not simply vote “no,” even though the effect is the same.
    ** By the way, does The Tower still have an editor? The clause in the first sentence, “the group did not vote to pass two resolutions, ” should read, “the group voted not to pass two resolutions.” There is a big difference between the two.

    1. Hi Erik, Thanks so much for the comment!

      The reason the clause reads that way is because SGA didn’t vote no on the resolutions, they just didn’t manage a majority. In our minds, that was a difference that needed to be distinguished; although, we do recognize it could possibly have been expressed in a clearer way. Thank you for the suggestion regarding investigating the abstentions, that’s something we’ll look into.

      Also, I hope you know that all alumni are able to submit to our Op-Ed section, the Quill, at any time, should they choose.

      Sincerely, the Editor-in-Chief

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