October 30, 2000

SGA gets large turnout for first 'real' meeting

by Josh Renaud
staff editor

It only took two tries.

In its second, but first "official" meeting, the Student Government Association had more than enough Assembly members present to elect its executive officers and discuss several important issues.

Jeff Lewis was elected Assembly chair, Michelle Roth was elected treasurer, Michelle Senkeric was elected secretary, and Shaun O'Hara was elected parliamentarian.

At the previous meeting, there weren't enough representatives present to achieve a quorum, so SGA President Ryan Connor decided to keep it "informational."

Connor distributed copies of the proposed SGA constitution and asked for representatives to serve on a committee to make final revisions to the document.

"We can't vote on [the constitution] at this meeting, so we'll have to form a committee," he said. "Make no mistake, this committee will move very rapidly. It will be two weeks or less before we have it ready."

Several representatives asked if it would be necessary to change the Student Court section of the proposed constitution. Earlier this spring, administrators stripped the court of its responsibility to handle student traffic ticket appeals--a duty which is spelled out in the current constitution.

Connor said he intended to try to convince the administration to return that responsibility to the students.

"I don't know exactly how long a road that is to go down," he said after the meeting. "That's something we need back, something students need to have control over, I feel."

Comptroller Ayo Olson added that while the traffic ticket appeals responsibility was important, there were other more pressing matters.

"There's so much other stuff that is more of a priority right now, like the constitution, which is right here in our face," she said. "That's something we need to get done now."

Administrators indicated after the meeting that they were open to at least discussing the subject.

"I'm not at all for stepping in and taking over, but sometimes things happen to get things back on track with students," said Joanne Bocci, interim associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs. "I'd be open to revisiting the issue with students. I don't know how Administrative Services or the higher-level administration feels. For myself, I'd be open to discussion."

The SGA officers also announced at the meeting that the Student Court justices appointed this spring had been relieved of their duties. Connor explained after the meeting that he had sent letters to each of the justices thanking them for their service and notifying them that their terms had ended effective the first day of classes of the fall semester, citing Article VII, Section 1 of the current SGA constitution.

"There's been a lot of debate about that," Connor said in an interview after the meeting. "I've received emails from certain students saying 'Read your constitution.' I received some backlash, but I expected that."

Other business:

  • Ellory Glenn, SGA vice president, announced he had spoken with several administrators about extending the hours of all UMSL libraries, perhaps to match the hours of the Student Center. Glenn said the administrators were supportive of the idea.
  • The SGA officers asked the Assembly members to find out what students wanted to do with the empty "shell space" on the first floor of the Millennium Student Center. A pub, a small gymnasium, and a mail room were among the ideas tossed out at the meeting.
  • SGA representatives elected Joe Flees and Sam Andemariam to the Associated Students of the University of Missouri Board of Directors.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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