By Erica Fuller
At the latest Student Government Association Meeting on Monday freshman Cavan Hagerty was elected to a vacant Senate position. He was elected despite the objections raised and disagreements between the current leadership and the former Vice President of Catholic University’s Student Government Association.
Since the Student Government Association’s Constitution states that a President may appoint replacements in the case of a vacancy, current President, Kristina Pinault, initially nominated Hagerty. Yet, senior James Benedek, the former Vice President, encouraged Senators to nominate junior Sean Calabria. According to Student Government Association bylaws, Senators can participate in the nomination process. Benedek therefore believed that Calabria could be nominated. President Pinault, however, pointed out that the Constitution supersedes the bylaws, and despite Benedek’s objections, the Senate ruled to proceed with Hagerty’s nomination.
Upon being overruled, Benedek left the meeting, shouting, “I hope you all vote no.” However, the majority voted yes, and Hagerty was sworn-in as the newest member of Catholic University’s Student Government Association.
The remainder of the meeting focused on reports and new legislation. Senior Tommy DiBenedetto, a representative for Relay for Life, highlighted the goals for this year’s event. DiBenedetto aims to fundraise $75,000, which would give cancer patients a two-month stay in an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and allow for 1500 calls to be made to the American Cancer Society Help Line.
“We have chosen to come about Relay in a different fashion from previous years. Now, we present a tangible goal for the student orgs to work towards,” DiBenedetto said about his presentation.
Senator Andrew Elder, Class of 2019, introduced legislation relevant to student life at Catholic University. One of Elder’s resolutions, which was passed, centered on placing more power outlets in Murphy’s Lounge. While some of the Senators wondered how this process would work electrically, others suggested purchasing furniture with built-in outlets. Similarly, Elder’s second resolution focused on placing Coca-Cola Freestyle 7000 machines, which offer a variety of flavors, in the lower Edward J. Pryzbyla food court. The Freestyle 7000 would further help the university in reducing plastic water bottles on campus, Elder said. Many of the Senators either questioned or opposed Elder’s plan. While sophomore Jimmy Harrington asked how funds would be acquired to pay for it, other Senators argued that the varying flavors in the machine tasted the same. Moreover, long lines could develop if the Freestyle 7000 is eventually placed in the Edward J. Pryzbyla food court. Although many challenged the use and value of the machine, the Senate voted to send the resolution to Chairwoman Brianna Howard’s Dining and Pryzbyla Services Committee. If Howard’s committee decides to pass the resolution, the legislation will then be sent to the Senate again. If passed in the Senate, it is not guaranteed that the new Coca-Cola machines will be added. Rather, they will be seen as “a formal representation” of what students want at Catholic University.
Overall, Pinault was glad that the Senate was able to proceed with the meeting despite early distractions and arguments.
“It is important that we stay focused and act productively,” Pinault said.