SGA Passes Legislation to Give Students 24/7 Access to Murphy’s in Final Meeting of the Semester
By Catherine O’Grady
In the final SGA meeting of the semester on Monday night, SGA passed resolutions to increase availability to changing tables on campus, give students around the clock access to Murphy’s lounge, and proposed the University make November 3, 2020, an academic holiday for the presidential election.
The resolution to increase availability to changing tables was sponsored by Senator Ally Kilgore and co-sponsored by all the female senators. The resolution was inspired by one of Kilgore’s constituents who often has to change the child she babysits on the bathroom floor. With this resolution, at least one changing table will be found in every male and female bathroom in all academic buildings on campus.
The resolution to make Murphy’s lounge 24/7 accessible to students was proposed as a solution to the lack of communal and academic space for students. The resolution asked that only the upper area of Murphy’s remain open for students to use at all hours of the day, while the rest of the Pryzbyla center will close at midnight.
“It is a unique place on campus because it provides an opportunity for students to study and get homework done and a chance for students to be social and build community,” said senator Gerald Sharp, sponsor of the resolution and representative for the class of 2022.
The resolution passed the Senate despite opponents of the resolution voicing their concerns about the lack of access to bathrooms and water fountains within Murphy’s lounge as well as security problems this may create.
Sharpe also sponsored the resolution to ask the University to make election day 2020 an Academic Holiday for the 2020 presidential election. The resolution asked that faculty be given two hours of paid time off to cast their votes. The resolution was proposed to motivate more students and faculty to partake in their civic duty, as work and class can impede availability to vote.
“Given the evolving culture of political involvement among young people, I think it would be beneficial for the University community and our country for students to become civically engaged,” said Sharpe.
The same resolution was proposed in 2016 for the 2016 presidential election and passed the Senate. However, the resolution was not put into place because administration didn’t have the time to adjust the schedule to accommodate the day off. This time around, the resolution was passed again and administration should have an adequate amount of time to adjust to the request of the student body.
The Senators spent a portion of the evening approving the Treasury Board appointments for next year as well as SGA’s yearly operating budget of $31,000, both of which were approved unanimously by the Senate.
Senator Aaron Mackisey also proposed a resolution for financial compensation for members of the executive board. In the resolution, Mackisey claimed that financial compensation would motivate members of the Executive Board to better serve the undergraduate community and that Executive Board members of the past received some form of compensation. Mackisey provided multiple options for compensation including discounted room and board, a meal plan, a salary, or tuition credit. Opponents of the resolution argued that financial compensation may attract the wrong candidates to Executive Board positions and being a member of the Executive Board should be focused on service to the community rather than a stipend. The resolution failed to pass the Senate.
The rest of the evening was spent thanking Vice President Weston Kirby for his service to the Student Government Association Senate, as he will be graduating in a semester and will no longer be serving as president of the Senate. The entire senate thanked Kirby with an award signed by the Committee Leaders and a standing ovation.
Jimmy Harrington, Weston Kirby, Brendan Dillon, and Sophie Czerniecki, all members of the Executive Board for the 2018/2019 year, were present at the SGA Inauguration on Wednesday May 1, to induct Brendan Dillon, Kaitlin Shanahan, Monica Wallace, and Megan Walsh into their elected Executive Board positions.
Thomas Holmes contributed to this article.