SGA gives more control to campus organizations

By Donald Halsing, News Editor 

By Dan Fuentes, Staff Writer

SGA passed changes to their constitution and bylaws during their meeting April 14.

Changes included repurposing the constitution committee as the student affairs committee, multiple changes to how funding is handled, and removing class senator positions, which were replaced with additional senator-at-large positions.

These changes give student organizations more control over their constitutions, budgets, and activities.

President Matty Bennet explained a change to SGA’s constitution which allows the incoming president to preliminarily fill certain appointed positions starting in May. With this change, the Parliamentarian and Diversity and Inclusion Officer will be able to begin working in their positions over the summer and attend eBoard training sessions.

He said this method gives students who are interested in the position an opportunity to take on the role. If no students are interested at the end of the spring semester, the new president still has until September to appoint students to the positions.

Bennet said the newly elected eBoard will hold a preliminary vote before the end of the academic year to confirm the new president’s selection. When the senate resumes in the fall, a final vote will be taken to confirm the nominees.

SGA also passed changes to their bylaws.

Vice President Abigail Salvucci said the Constitution Committee has been changed to the Student Affairs Committee in order to “have a group that is focused on the concerns of the students.” The committee will be focused on concerns including campus safety, and any issues brought up during SGA’s open forum.

She said the office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development will handle many facets of student organizations, including creation, re-activation, and constitutional amendments.

Salvucci said, “With the new club process and the new funding process, constitutions aren’t going to be the main role of SGA’s role in clubs.”

She said student organizations are strongly encouraged to participate in University-wide events. These events include Homecoming and Family Weekend, Rams Rising, and Accepted Students day.

Bennet said the definition of “open and accessible” events now includes events open to the public which SATF-paying students can attend. This is still within the guidelines for funding events with money from the Student Activities Trust Fund, which can only be used for events which SATF-paying students can attend.

Salvucci added SGA has removed the six class senator positions, and added 10 more senator-at-large positions.

Students running for class senate positions could only accept signatures on their nomination forms from members of their class. With the new rule, all prospective senators may receive signatures from any SATF fee-paying student.

Bennet said organizations in funding Group One will be able to request more money after the initial funding process.

An example he used was WDJM had anticipated hosting their 50th birthday event this year but had to postpone it on account of the pandemic. The new bylaw will give WDJM a chance to hold the event without reporting the event in their budget request for next year.

He also said student organizations will now be receiving their full allocation of funding all at once rather than in two installments – one at the beginning of each semester.

Bennet added organizations are no longer required to attempt fundraising a portion of funds needed for promotional items. SATF funds can now be used to fund promotional items up to $1,000.

He said student organizations are now funded for only one out-of-state and one, one-day conference per year. Any additional one-day conferences must be approved by the SGA Finance Committee.

Bennet thanked Salvucci for her work making changes to the bylaws.

He also gave estimates for donations SGA plans to make to “student initiatives.” These are projects identified by students which need attention on campus.

Bennet said SGA’s contributions come from both their own account and the remaining unallocated budget for the year.

The list includes $15,000 for additional lighting and blue lights, another $15,000 for furniture in the student veterans center, and $12,000 for renovations of the Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) in O’Connor Hall.

Also on the list is a $10,000 contribution for new equipment for the gym in the athletic center, $7,000 for water bottle filling stations, $4,100 for furniture in club room two, and $2,000 to the Rams Resource Center.

Bennet said with these contributions, all projects except for the CIE renovation can be completed. SGA donated 10% of the $120,000 cost for those renovations.

He said, “My goal for this is to make sure that if we fund projects, they will be able to be finished.”

Bennet encouraged eBoard members to begin writing officer transition reports. These reports are guides which provide incoming officers with information about their roles.

He said eBoard members whose positions will remain open after elections, or those who are running uncontested, should still write reports. By collecting reports from all officers, Bennet said it would create a “living history” of how previous senates operated for students to look back on in the future.

Student Trustee Olivia Beverlie encouraged senators and officers to “spread the word” and talk to their friends about how remote classes are going.

She said, “I want to know what people’s experiences are. That way, I have some information that I can speak with President Cevallos about, or even the Board of Trustees.”

Bennet said, “I think that Framingham State has done a really good job at trying to stay engaged.”

Without a “U-Rock” to award, Outreach and Events Coordinator Danielle Shaw said, “I was going to tell you guys every week that you rock, so you all rock!”

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