by Rachel Gallagher
The Catholic University of America’s Student Government Association hosted another meeting Monday night, voting to pass four pieces of legislation: three resolutions and a bill. Among the legislation passed was Bill 002 proposed by Senator Jimmy Harrington containing changes to the Student Government Association’s Bylaws.
“I have been in the senate for two years now and have seen that both before and after the constitutional amendments, the bylaws made little sense,” said Senator Harrington. “Parts of the bylaws were contradictory to themselves or the constitution while others were extremely vague and open to be abused. Effective bylaws are foundational to the functioning of a student government so I saw this tedious work to be requisite for the long-term goals of SGA.”
An objection to merely having the review of the proposed bylaws on the Senate agenda was raised by a student during the public comment portion of the meeting on the grounds of a Student Government Association technicality. Bill 002 was presented, passed, and signed by Student Government Association President Kristina Pinault at the meeting on Monday. Major changes to the bylaws include the addition of a parliamentarian, a position which will ensure that the Senate works within appointed rules and restrictions; the removal of proxies, appointing someone to vote on your behalf; and the removal votes of no confidence, which are meant to establish that a Senator is no longer fit to hold that position. Such changes are meant to ensure that the Student Government Association Senate is doing its job effectively. The three resolutions passed included legislation that proposed extending the hours of the Eugene I. Kane Fitness Center, listing all costs included in a class (e.g. required performances to attend, dance classes, or computer software) in the course’s syllabus, and the replacement of the three weather-worn flags outside of McMahon Hall.
Class of 2020 Senator Weston Kirby, who presented the resolution to extend the hours of the Eugene I. Kane Fitness Center, proposed making the opening time 6:30AM, as opposed to the current 7:30AM so as to allocate sufficient time for students to work out in the morning, particularly freshmen students wishing to work out before their 9:10AM Learning Community classes. The resolution passed unanimously and a trial run for the proposed hours for the Eugene I. Kane Center is possible in the near future.
The second resolution was proposed by Senator John Connolly and did not pass the senate. The resolution proposed restricting the timespan of the university’s midterm period. The current midterm period currently may span from two to five weeks, depending on each student’s course load. Concerns with such a resolution expressed by senators included the added pressure of having midterms “back to back to back” and a nearly universal lack in faculty support. Senator Connolly, as well as his co-sponsor Senator Elise LaFleur, emphasized that the main point of this legislation was to express concern from students.
“When SGA passes a resolution in the Senate, we are effectively communicating to the administration of the University what we believe the student body would like to see happen,” said Senator LaFleur. “But we as a Senate body cannot ensure that any concrete action will be taken. Resolutions are used to bring about change to the CUA community.”
Due to a lengthy reading of the entirety of the proposed bylaws by Senator Harrington, the Student Government Association Senate’s agenda was unable to be completed as written. The meeting ended when Senator LaFleur, who was scheduled to present the final resolution for the evening, called for the meeting to adjourn and the remainder of the agenda to be completed at the next meeting.