Valedictorian position to be replaced by ‘college marshals’: SGA ties up many loose ends before the year concludes

SGA Vice President Matty Bennet reports changes made to Constitution bylaws. (Ashley Wall / THE GATEPOST)

SGA members discussed the removal of the valedictorian position, parking for field-study students, and changes to their bylaws during their April 30 meeting.  

President Ben Carrington said, “I just want to congratulate everyone on – I think, in my opinion – a successful election day.” 

According to Carrington, 217 people voted in the election, or approximately 5.5% of enrolled students. 

Carrington added this election had the highest voter turnout in three years. There were 177 voters in 2018, and 158 voters in 2017.

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Carrington also announced the University’s alcohol policy has been “changed” based on suggestions from SGA. The changes will be reviewed by the Student Affairs Committee and then by FSU President F. Javier Cevallos.

During the announcements portion of the meeting, Senator Olivia Rothwell said, “I heard back from the [FSUPD] chief, and he told me that they’re considering internship and field placement parking” in a lot close to campus.

“I’m going to continue to fight for everyone on campus,” she added.

Ad Hoc Publicity Chair Abigail Salvucci said, “You should team up with commuters.

“I think if you tied in with commuters,” she said, “I think that would make your point even stronger.”

Parliamentarian Adam Scanlon said the valedictorian position is being replaced with several “college marshals.”

 “It was a close vote,” Scanlon said. 

In the past, valedictorian was determined by raw GPA. But, he said, “Each college has a different standard for how your GPA is weighted.”

The new system allows the faculty of each college to “nominate” students above a threshold GPA to be “marshals at commencement.”

“The way that they want to do it is to make it more representative of the entire campus,” Scanlon said. “It would be based on academic leadership and civic engagement.”

Rothwell said, “I like the rationale behind it, but my only thought is the title – that’s what throws me off.”

When asked if the change will impact the Class of 2019’s graduation, Scanlon said, “We’ll see on Friday.”

Also during the meeting, Vice President Matty Bennet presented near-complete drafts of the bylaws.

He shared a “working definition” of honoraria based on senate’s “discussion last week.” Senate unanimously approved the revised definition.

Bennet guided senate through the latest draft of Article II of SGA’s bylaws, which outlines committee structures. Senate also corrected typos and discussed errors in the draft.

Finance Committee’s responsibilities were modified to allow any approved request of “$1,000 or less” to be “immediately received by the club,” and any approved request “over $1,000” will be “brought before senate.”

Bennet said, “In the previous model … if it’s between $600 and $1,000, it’s up to the SATF treasurer.” 

He said this rule was done away with for “simplicity.” Bennet said he spoke with Driana Lebron, student activities treasurer and chair of Finance Committee, as well as Sara Gallegos, SGA advisor, who wanted to move toward not seeing “funding requests every week.” 

Bennet said, “They’re trying to free up time so they can do more than just do funding requests.”

He also outlined Constitution Committee’s requirement to “review” SGA’s constitution and bylaws and “amend as necessary.”

Bennet said, “That’s new. … The bylaws and constitution are changing with the needs of this organization.”

Bennet explained a line that allows clubs “the right to appeal” to senate if their “constitution or amendments are denied at Constitution Committee.”

He added, “That’s something that was practiced with funding requests, but wasn’t ever explicit for Constitution Committee.” 

For Elections Committee, voting members previously included one “non-returning member of SGA” and two “SATF-paying members of the student body.” This has been changed to two non-returning members and one SATF-paying student.

Bennet explained the responsibilities of a new committee – Judiciary Committee. This committee meets on an as-needed basis, executes the “removal process,” and “acts as a mediator for any club or organization dispute.”

Additionally, the Social Events Committee has been renamed the “Outreach and Events Committee.”

Changes to Article II were approved unanimously. 

Bennet said, “We had our last Constitution Committee meeting today.” He thanked committee members for helping him “dot all my ‘I’s and cross all my ‘T’s.” 

There will be one more “quick” round of edits next week focusing on funding, election code, and awards.