SGA ratifies changes to bylaws and constitution

SGA voted on edits made to its own bylaws and constitution and heard funding requests for game room renovations and the creation of a bee garden at its meeting April 20. 

Secretary Lexi Kays, who undertook the revision process, said she looked at SGA’s processes through “an anti-racist and anti-homophobic lens.”

Kays said she changed the pronouns in the bylaws and constitution from “his or her” to “their.”

A clarification was made to the appeal process after allocation decisions made by the senate.

“The senate gives the final decision of not approving or not giving [an organization] as much money as they asked for or whatever,” said Kays. “They cannot appeal again.”

Kays also removed the QPA requirements for the Dr. Thomas Eames Award and the Benevolence Awards in the bylaws. 

The QPA requirements were also removed from SGA’s constitution.

The motion passed 14 – 0 with one abstention. 

President Olivia Beverlie presented a proposed plan for renovations to the game room to be funded by SGA. 

“It’s looking a little bit in rough shape right now in there,” she said.

She said the renovations would cost $20,000, but SGA only has $16,891.50 in its unallocated funds. To fund the rest, $4,000 would be moved from SGA’s operations budget to the unallocated funds.

According to Beverlie, the renovations would include new flooring and shelving, painting the walls, and buying new gaming consoles.

Beverlie said her goal is to “make this space fun for people to use and clubs to use.”

The motion passed 15 – 0 with no abstentions.

Senator Hillary Nna requested $300 for a pollinator and vegetable garden.

The current garden is located behind O’Connor Hall, but there is a plot behind the McCarthy Center being prepared for a pollinator garden as well, said Nna.

“The most comprehensive global report thus far on the status of pollinators found that 40% of them, which are mostly bees, are facing extinction,” she said.

According to Nna, the garden will need a composter, storage box, stakes, bee hotels and signage, plant food, and fertilizer.

The motion passed 14 – 0 with one abstention.

During open forum, Samantha Collette, administrative resident assistant of Corinne Towers Hall and president of the class of 2022, said she and Caroline Cowart, resident assistant (RA), created a petition to increase campus safety.

“This was brought to us because every single week on Thursdays, we have Towers Talks and almost all of our RAs go to these events,” said Collette. “We talk about things – either building-related, campus-related, or country-related, to see what we can do or even just have a safe processing space.”

Beverlie said SGA could support Collette by funding new cameras.

“We did actually talk to Campus Police about getting updated cameras in the [parking] lots because some lots, as it stands, do not have them. But unfortunately, some lots did not have that capability due to them not being able to run wires underground in certain places,” said Beverlie.

Collette said replacing all the cameras would be ideal, but for now, they are focusing on the outside ones “since a lot of our incidents can be outside.”

Also during open forum, Benji Obianigwe, a sophomore, raised a concern about the front page feature photo of the Oct. 16 issue of The Gatepost.

Obianigwe said, “I was trying to talk about a post on Gatepost actually that has a cop wearing a Blue Lives Matter mask.

“And as a school, if you are going to say that you’re anti-racism and not for racism and have that on your post, that’s literally contradictory to have on the same Instagram page [as] a Black Lives Matter post, too.”

He said it was “stupid to have those two on the same page.”

Obianigwe added, “If you’re going to support Blue Lives Matter, take down the Black Lives Matter. If you’re going to support the Black Lives Matter, take down the cop with the mask on because we’re Black like 365 days of the week. They’re blue whenever they’re here. So, it doesn’t make sense to have that up. They’re [The Gatepost] saying because of freedom of speech, they’re about to leave that up.”

In response, Beverlie said, “This was a concern I have been talking to Benji about, so I want to let you know where we’re at on this as SGA because we are doing something about this. 

“We’re working to facilitate a discussion between myself, Benji, The Gatepost, and the dean of students, and also just different conversations with the individuals in that mixed together.

“We are handling this right now the best way that we possibly can by advocating for students,” she added.

In her president’s report, Beverlie said open forum covered most of what she was going to bring up. 

She said, “I just wanted to make sure you guys know that I’m managing these things from the standpoint of like, ‘What can we do now?’” 

Beverlie wished everyone running in the election “good luck.”

During her report, Student Trustee McKenzie Ward said the next Board of Trustees meeting will be after the last senate meeting.

“I will be sending an email debriefing SGA on what happens at Board of Trustees,” she said.

In the Student Advisory Council Update, Senator Mark Haskell said he went to a “focus group about a sexual assault and climate survey bill.

“The climate survey bill was the first law in Massachusetts that speaks to campus responses to sexual assault,” he added.

According to Haskell, the law goes into effect Aug. 1.

In the Vice President’s Report, Abigail Salvucci said there would be one more Student Affairs Committee meeting to prepare a list for the new vice president. 

During her Secretary’s Report, Kays reminded senators there would be one more senate meeting before their banquet. 

She said she would be sending out invitations to the senators with the Zoom link.

In the Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF) Treasurer’s Report, Ewnie Fedna said she is gathering information for the transitional reports for the new officers.

In the Diversity and Inclusion Officer’s Report, Paola Bilbraut said she talked to the Student Transportation Center about using a RamTram to deliver the Benevolence Awards.

According to Bilbraut, COVID-19 guidelines will still have to be followed.

Beverlie said the RamTram is only allowed to travel within the state of Massachusetts.  

In her Advisor’s Report, Sara Gallegos reminded SGA of events that are occurring at the end of the semester. 

She said Motivation. Intersectionality. Solidarity. Sisterhood.’s drive-in is scheduled for April 23 in the Salem End Parking Lot and they will be showing “Bad Boys For Life.”

The Student Union Activities Board is hosting Sandbox May 7 and is still looking for volunteers.

SGA also discussed its virtual banquet May 4.

Outreach & Events Coordinator Mariah Farris said SGA will be doing “banquet in a box.”

She said, “We’re going to have fun things in the box for everybody to come grab and … we’re going to do it on Zoom.”

Beverlie added, “If you’d like to help out with banquet, it’s all hands on deck.”

[Editor’s note: McKenzie Ward and Emily Rosenberg are members of The Gatepost]