In what was the second to last Student Government Association meeting of the semester, two meetings were merged into one.
The now former president of the SGA, Brian Choplick, received an excellence in leadership award for what senators said were his outstanding leadership skills and dedication shown throughout his time served. The initial board and senators said their goodbyes after the first meeting was adjourned and made way for the new senators and board.
This incoming class of senators is the 89th, beginning in 1925. One of the former members of the Senate also made a point that 110 minutes in total had been wasted since their first meeting of the year, and advised incoming staff to not waste time in the same fashion.
After the entirety of the new Senate recited their oath, the board was then sworn in by President Miller. Newly-elected President Simms Sonet, pledged first, followed by the new vice president, Caroline Fox, followed by the repeat treasurer, Kory Mills.
-Three motions were on the table, the first being a motion to approve the budget for the Fiscal year of 2014-15, based on next years projected enrollment. “This would be giving us the budget for next year,” said Treasurer Mills, in support. This was also the same formula used as last year. The motion passed unanimously.
-The next motion was to allocate funds based on specific SGA By-Laws. The motion went into detail regarding which accounts are getting what funds. For example, approximately $40k will be placed in SG9017 (Supplement budget account for new clubs and events), and $350k in SG9015 for base budgets. This motion also passed unanimously.
-The third, and final motion of the meeting, was the most controversial and toughest decision for the SGA to come to an agreement on. The motion was to approve the 2014-15 Base Budgets at $414,811.12 with various amounts being moved to specific accounts. The motion caused slight confusion in a few, and a couple of Senators made it clear that the new Senate may not be clear enough on the subject to be ready to finalize a decision involving nearly half a million dollars. A debate ensued and was postponed until the next and final meeting.
In his report, Student Government Association President Brian Choplick vetoed the motion to grant the graduating SGA students stoles with the condition of paying at least $18 that was passed by the senate on April 9, 2014. Choplick cited negative feedback from student body as a reason.
A motion was made to approve a line-item change for the Student Veterans Organization. The request was in regards to moving $95.75 from “speakers” to “supplies” for their veterans’ fundraiser. The motion passed unanimously with one abstention.
Senator Connor Fallanca motioned to approve the line-item request for the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). LASO requested a total of $1,000 from the “conferences” line-item to the “other” category with the explanation being that they need supplies for their upcoming event called “A Night in Old San Juan,” when they decided to not go to their conference they originally planned to go to. The motion passed 24 to two with five abstentions. The event will take place on April 30.
On open floor, Senator Lauren Hudobenko motioned to insert section D to section 5-2 of the SGA by-laws, which has to do with election times. After being amended, Section D would state in a case of a tie a run-off election would be held over a period of at least 24 hours decided by the Public Affairs Committee. The motion passed 20 to three with one abstention.
Senator Abdallah Alsaqri motioned to allocate no more than $400 to purchase Student Government Association graduation stoles. It was later amended to say that the senators graduating have to pay at least $18. A stole cost $34 and the rationale was that the graduating senators had to pay at least $18 due to it being at least 51% of the cost. The motion passed with 17 “yes” votes, seven “no” votes, and three “abstain” votes.
A motion was made to allocate $6,500, later amended to $6,400 due to typo, to the Student Life Committee from SG9010 for the It’s Not Easy Being Green event. The motion passed with 25 “yes” votes and two “abstain” votes.
A motion was made and passed with 24 “yes” votes and two “abstain votes to allocate $400 from SG9195 for coffee talks on the smoke free campus.
A motion was made to allocate $2886 to the Center Stage revenue account. It passed with 27 “yes” votes, six “no” votes, and one “abstain” votes.
President Brian Choplick passed the chair to Treasurer Kory Mills in order to speak on a motion to change Section 1-5 of the Student Government Association by-laws regarding “Safe-Zone Training.” The motion passed with 24 “yes” votes and four “abstain” votes. The by-laws now read that every senator and officer will have to attend “Safe-Zone Training” or some type of equivalent service deemed by the Vice-President, or vote of the majority of Senate. And failing to comply with that will result in a loss of stipend.
Another motion regarding semantics in the SGA by-laws was made. The proposal was to say that two-thirds of the Senate must be present at the time voting for committee chairs and co-chairs takes place. The motion passed with 26 “yes” votes and one “abstain” vote.
On open floor, a motion was made to approve the line-item change for the Geology and Planetary Science club. $190 would be moved from their museum trip to pay for a field trip. The motion was passed with 25 “yes votes to three “no” votes and one “abstain” votes.
A motion was made to allocate the Student Life committee $400 in support for an event called the Day of Silence. It passed with 26 “yes” votes and two “abstain” votes.
Otis Mamed, from the office of Student Affairs, told the student government that the food service contract with Sodexo is up at the end of June 2015. Mamed said that over the next year the university wants to go over different proposals for food service. The university desires student feedback onthe issue and asked the SGA to appoint two senators to serve on the committee that will be making the decision. These students will have the right to vote on the committee, along with two students from IRC. Mamed said that the committee would only meet while school is in session.
Scott Hazan of Student Affairs gave a report. He mentioned a plan to hold a memorial service for the student who recently passed — Elizabeth Sloan. He urged all senators who may have an interest to contact Laura Tordenti, Vice President for Student Affairs.
Hazan also addressed some concerns over the selection process for those students who sat on stage during President Barack Obama’s speech. Hazan said that initially SALD was charged with selecting 25 student leaders. That was on Sunday. On Monday, SALD found out that these 25 students were not the only ones to sit on stage, that other departments were selecting students as well. Additionally, Hazan said that the White House also had guests sitting on the platform.
Hazan said that it cost the university nothing to have Obama come to campus and speak.
SGA President Brian Choplick said that tickets for the Spring Concert are not selling as quickly as they did last year, so some additional marketing strategies will need to be put into place.
Senator Alexander Lee of the Academic Affairs committee talked about the formation of the STEM school. Lee said that most students affected by the formation are aware of it and that no facilities will be directly affected.
The senate approved a number of contingency requests and line item changes presented by the Finance Committee.
Dr. Laura Tordenti, Vice President for Student Affairs, discussed in her report Senator Chris Murphy’s initiative to curb efforts of smoking on college campuses when he wrote a letter to Central Connecticut State University President, Jack Miller.
During committee reports Student Life Chairman, Senator Simms Sonet, announced that scholarships are due on March 13, 2014, which is a Thursday.
A motion was made to approve a change in the Muslim Student Association line item, which ended up passing with 30 “yes” votes with two “abstain” votes.
Senator Bobby Berriault motioned to transfer $1,544.60 SG9195 (reserves) to SG9120 (for use by Senate). Treasurer Mills amended the motion so it would read that the money would be taken from SG9010 to SG9195, which corrected the accounts that Senator Berriault intended to use, which ended up passing. The motion ended up failing with 13 “no” votes, 12 “yes” votes and six “abstain” votes.
Senator Teige Christiano motioned to add section 5-E which adds two more senators to SGA that are part-time students. Christiano said that there should be “more representation of part time students on campus” and that it will also help out committees. After debating both sides of the motion, it ended being referred to the Ad-hoc committee, which will give its report by Monday March 24, 2014. The motion was made by Senator Alex Lee.