Executive board questions constitutionality of Resolution 4-19-F, explains veto

Senators Anthony Survance and Symone Whalin voice disagreement of the veto by the executive board of Resolution 4-19-F on Oct. 29, 2019.

Brody Rexing

Members of the Student Government Association’s executive board defended their stance on rejecting Resolution 4-19-F as it was presented to them following last Tuesday’s meeting.

Resolution 4-19-F, despite being voted through SGA’s senate, was vetoed 4-0 by the executive board. This veto was confirmed by the senate on this Tuesday’s meeting.

The continued push for disciplinary action against Alpha Xi Delta’s Epsilon Kappa chapter will be halted until a revised version is presented. Its authors, Senators Anthony Survance and Symone Whalin, will have to wait two more weeks before their new resolution can go to voting.

Two of the six SGA members on the executive board abstained from voting. President Will Harris was one abstainer and explained that the resolutions primary issue was its decision to punish AXiD on grounds of discrimination.

“The discrimination clause that it claimed [AXiD] violated would have to come from the Student Code of Conduct,” Harris said. 

SGA does not have the ability to invoke Code of Conduct violations by defunding before the Office of Student Conduct does. Harris claims that no such violation was noted by the Office of Student Conduct, making the call for SGA to defund AXiD invalid.

The veto, additionally pointing to crucial formatting issues in the resolution itself, calls the resolution and its call to action against AXiD “illegitimate and not legal from a legislative standpoint.”

Josh Zaczek, legislative research chair, opposed this logic and the veto itself, citing that resolutions have “a bit more breadth” than their bill counterparts.

“It’s not a bill that’s being passed saying, ‘This is what SGA will now do, and this is what is actually going to happen after this passes,” Zaczek explained. “A resolution is the opinion of the student body through the senate, and that opinion is that [AXiD] did violate the Code of Conduct and should not receiving funding from the SGA.”

Brigid Stakelum, public relations chair, still believes the resolution is not one SGA should be passing.

“If we set the precedent now that we can just take funding away from them, then that could cause problems for us in the future,” Stakelum said.

She added that a proposal this harsh in nature would also necessitate further debate. Last Tuesday’s meeting supports this claim as the meeting time spent discussing the resolution mainly focused on the resolution’s wording. Voting began immediately after debate over the wording had concluded, leaving hardly any time to debate its contents.

Stakelum said she does believe that it is necessary to punish those involved with the video, but does not believe in punishing members of AXiD, present or future, that had nothing to do with the slur. 

Survance stands by the resolution punishments and all as he thinks too much has been done to dull the resolution’s edge.

“We’ve already taken a lot of the teeth out of it,” Survance said. 

Survance also noted the length at which punishment has been delayed, reminding the Senate that it has been “two to three months” since the video was posted with no punishment for AXiD.

“[Members of the executive branch] are dragging this out forever so it will just die out and we won’t do anything,” Survance said. “Do something now. Let’s be serious about this issue.”

The resolution’s co-author, Whalin, addressed the formatting issues that was listed in the executive board’s strikes against the resolution. Whalin said the clause causing the most trouble, which did not clarify or properly inform how long AXiD’s funding was to be cut, was only added for information to clarify the resolution. This clarification, Whalin claims, was motivated by talks with the Judicial Council and LRC.

“After speaking to JC and LRC and LRC again, more information was added to verify the resolution’s constitutionality,” Whalin said.

Harris’s connection to AXiD as one of their knights was brought up as possible “motivation” for him to be in favor of vetoing the bill despite abstaining. Harris noted SGA’s connection to nearly all organizations on campus and reaffirmed his non-bias.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say that because I’m a knight of AXiD I don’t have the right to vote,” Harris said. He also expressed desires to work with 4-19-F’s authors as to come to an amicable decision on the matter.

Reporter Brody Rexing can be reached at [email protected].