Once again, the Student Association met for its weekly senate meeting at 6 p.m. in Lanigan 103. The senate passed another bill for the semester allowing funding for an educational trip for a club without a budget. Also, a senator raised concerns to his colleagues about logistical issues.
One new senator was sworn in to the senate this week. Neil McGlynn was added as an at-large senator. Sixteen senators were in attendance for this week’s meeting. They began by quickly passing both the minutes from last week’s meeting and the agenda for Tuesday.
Eric Flagg resigned as director of student involvement. Flagg expressed his regret for leaving the position, but ensured the senate he would remain as involved as he could.
“I’ve got a lot to focus on academically and that’s my top priority,” Flagg said.
The president addresses the senate
Anthony Smith, president of SA, aired some of his concerns with the senators. He does not like coming to meetings every week and not seeing anything productive coming out of senate. Smith spoke of The Oswegonian’s opinion section and posed a question to the senate.
“If The Oswegonian can do this in a week, why can’t we?” Smith asked.
Smith compared the opinion pieces to resolutions that the senate can pass. He reminded the senators that they can write resolutions to anyone, whether it be supporting an organization for charitable acts or against an organization for something they disagree with.
Smith told the senators that they are the future of SA and that they need to start paying attention to things going on around campus in order to better serve those they represent. He reminded the senate that they are not “bogged down with finance issues” that other senates have faced in the past.
With that being said, Smith announced that he was issuing three executive orders, a power he reserves that is outlined in the SA Constitution. The first order reworked the hierarchy of Smith’s directors. He said that this would help with hiring new directors in the future. The second order asked that the SA Code and Constitution be reviewed for productivity and to make necessary changes to it. He also asked that the code be looked at to see if it is too structured or not structured enough. The third order was more specifically for his directors. He called upon them to outline their positions and to make a record of what they do for SA. Smith said that this will be beneficial to those taking over the positions in the future.
The vice president addresses the senate
Vice President Benjamin June spoke about the “homework” he assigned to the senators the week prior. He congratulated one senator specifically who he believed exemplified what he was asking for, Domenico Angerosa of Scales Hall.
June asked that each week the senators repeat this “homework” of emailing a club reaching out as a senator and introducing themselves as a resource so the clubs know that they are there as a resource.
He challenged all senators to a contest. The first senator to write and pass six bills will win a free pizza meal. He warned that this is not an excuse to just “churn out bills” as he reserves the right to deny bills sent to him.
Director of finance updates the senate
Hassan Al-Shareffi updated the senate on its accounts. None have changed since last week.
He told the senate that he has started organizing his roles and forming a job description. He has also scheduled weekly meetings with the comptroller of Auxiliary Services to help him plan the search to replace him as he moves on. He said while he will not be leaving Oswego State – he is going into his fifth year for his MBA – he will not be returning as director of finance. He reassured the senate that he will be able to mentor whoever steps into the role.
He also said that in the coming weeks, he will begin meeting with organizations to discuss budgeting for the next year.
New legislation brought to the floor
A new bill was proposed to the senate on behalf of the Human Computer Interaction club. The organization asked for funding to visit Massachusetts Institute of Technology for an overnight educational trip.
The funding the club asked for added up to $853.32. The Finance and Appropriations committee reviewed the bill and amended it so that SA would only be funding $466.94. It said that the organization could split the gas and parking costs and could possibly rent vans for free. Since the club has no budget, the senate believes that this is a fair amount for the club. Representatives from the club agreed with the amendment and felt that it was fair. The senators passed the amendment and updated the bill unanimously.
Senator raises issues
Senator Francisco Perez, the most experienced of the senators, raised a few concerns that he has before the senate.
Perez said that he was “on board” with the push for senators to be more active, referring to June’s contest as “the space race of legislation.” His concern was that, as stated in the SA Code, the chairs of committees are required to meet on a weekly basis, but have yet to meet this semester. Perez asked that if the chairs could all meet before the next meeting, as it is something they are supposed to be doing regularly.
June said that it is a time when the vice president and all three chairs meet, and it is really hard to get all three of them together.
“Last year we went weeks and months without having them,” June said. “If there’s actually any problems I let my chairs know, but it’s just something that’s a way for the chairs of some of the different committees and myself stay in touch and make sure that everything is going according to plan.”
Perez also shared his concern that meeting packets were not being sent out as outlined in the code. The packet containing the agenda, past meeting minutes and new legislation is supposed to be sent to all senators by midnight prior to the weekly session. Perez said that these minutes have been sent out around 2 p.m. on the afternoon of meetings. Perez showed his frustration with this and asked that the code be followed in order to give senators enough time to review what is sent to them.
“You’re supposed to do them by midnight,” June said. “The only reason why I do it then is that I give everyone enough time to send in bills. It happens a lot of the time where bills are sent last minute.”
June said that Tuesday afternoons are the best time in his schedule so that he can allow for as much to be on the agenda as possible.
SA meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Lanigan 103 and meetings are open to the public.