SGA approves funding for legal observer training

Nicole Ziege

The Student Government Association swore in a new justice member, planned for fall elections and passed a bill approving funding for legal observer training during their meeting on Tuesday night.

Freshman Isaac Keller, new justice member, was sworn in at the beginning of the meeting.

“Once I heard about [Student Government Association] on campus, I was really excited,” Keller said during his speech, adding that he participated in student government throughout high school.

Keller’s nomination was unanimously approved.

The Senate brought forth Bill 3-17-F, which approved the funding of $200 for “Legal Observer Training.” According to the Civil Liberties Defense Center, legal observers are “individuals who purposely position themselves close enough to demonstrations to be able to accurately watch and report the activities of participants and the law enforcement who interact with them.”

The funding will be used to facilitate the training through promotional flyers, providing food for attending students and purchasing a gift for the trainers and will come from Senate Discretionary for the event, according to the bill.

The training is in partnership with the Nashville Chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild and will be held on Oct. 19.

Emily Houston, the director of Academic and Student Affairs and one of three authors of the bill, spoke to the Senate about how the training would be “beneficial” for students interested in law or political activism.

Senator Dylan McCormick, one of the three authors of the bill, also spoke to the Senate with Houston, emphasizing the relevancy of being trained as a legal observer.

“It really can help, especially in this political climate, to have people with these particular skills on hand,” McCormick said.

The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate.

SGA president Andi Dahmer addressed the lack of a streamline process for new Senate positions in her report. She said there is now an application online to nominate new senate members, and the new senate members will be brought before the Senate to be approved.

At the end of her report, Dahmer remarked on the fatal shooting on Sunday morning, which involved two WKU students. She said if the students at the Senate meeting needed to speak to anyone and seek help, they could speak to any of the executive board members or seek help from the Counseling and Testing Center on campus.

Amy Wyer, Ddirector of Public Relations, reminded the senate there would be polling stations set up in the Downing Student Union on Sept. 11 and 12 for the fall senate elections.

In his report, Speaker of the Senate Ryan Richardson corrected an error that he made during the last meeting, which allowed a revote on a bill that had already been voted on.

In last Tuesday’s senate meeting, Public Relations Committee Chair Will Hurst requested a revote on Bill 6-17-F, which proposed to establish emergency committee in order to select and appoint an open Senate seat outside of the election cycle. The revote was requested after the bill had failed to get a majority in the senate. The bill still failed to receive a majority on Tuesday night after the revote.

At next Tuesday’s meeting, the Senate is scheduled to discuss Bill 7-17-F, which proposes to amend a number error in the bylaws of the Student Government Association.

Reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].