By Liz Friden
SGA Senators are being sworn in by Vice President Weston Kirby
Courtesy of Liz Friden
The Catholic University of America’s Student Government Association (SGA) held its first meeting of the year Monday, October 1 in Great Room B of the Pryzbyla Center.
26 senators were sworn in and two pieces of legislation were voted on. The first piece of legislation was Bill 001 which amended the senate by-laws. The second one, Resolution 001 proposed a cap for tuition increases. The chairs of five standing committees were also voted on unanimously.
A vacant seat was filled for the School of Social Work when Victoria Turner was nominated by SGA President Jimmy Harrington and sworn in. Monica Wallace, a freshman economics and politics major, was also sworn into the position of freshman director for Treasury Board.
Senator for the Class of 2019, Katie Troilo, was nominated and voted to be the President Pro Tempore meaning she will be chair of the Rules and Administration Committee in the Senate. Troilo has experience on SGA from being the Senate Parliamentarian in the 2017-2018 academic year. She is the first woman to serve as President Pro tempore in SGA in the four years it has been in existence.
Another chair nominated and confirmed was the chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs which will be filled by Senator Aaron Mackisey. This is Mackisey’s fourth year on SGA, making him the longest serving SGA senator. It is required that a senator from each school serves on the Academic Affairs Committee.
Three other SGA chairs that were nominated and confirmed were the chair of the Committee on University Services, Nick Spinelli of the business school; the chair of the Committee on Student Resources, Senator Cavan Hagerty of the school of arts and sciences; and the chair of the Committee on Campus Life, Senator Leigh Calotta of the nursing school.
Bill 001 was brought to the floor first. It was sponsored by Senator Troilo and co-sponsored by Senator Elise LaFleur. This bill was passed unanimously and called for changes to certain academic schools and departments to be made as a result of the Academic Renewal Plan passed through the Academic Senate that is in effect this academic year.
The second piece of legislation, Resolution 001, was a resolution to “Limit Tuition and Fee Increases at The Catholic University of America,” sponsored by Spinelli. Last semester, just before finals, this same resolution was passed, but did not go anywhere because it was the end of the academic year. It proposed a compromise with the administration to cap tuition increases at 2.5% for all Catholic University students. It would first be enacted for the 2019-2020 academic year. Spinelli passionately advocated for the resolution saying, “the intention is to make the administration officials aware of the spending.”
Class of 2021 Senator Alexandra Kilgore was a staunch supporter of the resolution. Kilgore explained how last year she was asked by her constituents about the resolution. “This year my constituents did not come back because they can’t afford CUA,” she said. “It is a loss for the community, more than any program cut would be.”
Senator Gerald Sharpe is new to the SGA as one of the senators representing the Class of 2022. He remained skeptical of the resolution, asking Spinelli about what members of the administration and board of trustees he had been in contact with. Spinelli told Sharpe, “Dr. Allen and President Garvey have seen it and they are aware of it.”
The vote was 25 yeas and 1 nay, with Sharpe the lone senator opposing the resolution.
Sharpe explained his stance saying, “I didn’t like the idea of relying on donors to make up two million in cuts. I wish I could have gotten a little more information on where the cuts used would come from.”
Public Treasury Board allocations were also announced. SGA still has a Senate seat vacant for the school of Philosophy and is looking for a Parliamentarian for this academic year.