SGA creates regional ambassadors, modifies election codes

Jamie Williams

The Student Government Association passed bills to encourage senator participation and improve regional campus representation in addition to updating its election codes during its meeting Tuesday.

The SGA approved a bill that will require all senators to have one office hour per week in the SGA offices. This hour will be spent writing legislation and meeting with other students if needed.

Speaker Nathan Cherry hopes the bill will help senators become more comfortable with writing legislation and will get them to take their jobs more seriously. Cherry said during his time as senator, he would sometimes feel disconnected from the executive council and committee chairs of SGA, so he wanted to ensure senators would feel more connected to the organization.

“I feel like if senators are more present in the office, you’ll feel more engaged, you’ll be better informed, and you’ll be more of a critical piece of SGA — which all of you are,” Cherry said.

Finally, the SGA passed a bill that will improve regional campus representation in the SGA by creating the position of regional ambassador. Currently, it’s difficult for regional campuses to be represented in SGA due to distance from campus and time commitment.

“The impetus for doing this is that we often lack that voice from our regional campuses because we set up these expectations that oftentimes the students cannot fulfill,” Richey said.

A regional ambassador would be appointed for each campus and would then be approved by the SGA. These ambassadors would not have voting power in the senate, but they would be able to provide policy suggestions to the SGA. Additionally, regional campuses would still be able to have five students in its regional student body association, as long as the regional ambassador is the sole voice for that body.

One SGA senator would also be designated as a liaison to South Campus — visiting weekly to understand any concerns students have and bringing them back to the rest of the senate.

While this bill passed the senate, the resolution will not go into effect until next semester if the student body approves it during Spring elections.

The SGA judicial council made updates to the election codes over several meetings, and the SGA approved those changes during its Tuesday meeting. One of the most important changes to the code deals with campaign finances.

Overall, campaign fund allotments have been raised from previous years. Presidential candidates may spend $300 to campaign, both executive and administrative vice presidential candidates $125 and senatorial candidates $50.

The limit for contributions to a student’s campaign funds has also changed from $100 to 40 percent of the total campaign fund allotment for the candidate.

Another change is candidates will not be allowed to campaign in classrooms within 48 hours of the election. This includes classroom spaces online such as Blackboard.

The judicial council will also refrain from showing any type of favoritism to candidates, including by interacting with their campaign posts on social media. Candidates will be required to submit online campaign pages to the judicial council to ensure they are following election code.

Elections will be held April 17 and 18 on TopNet, and the results will be announced in the senate chambers at 12:01 a.m. on April 19.

The next SGA meeting will be next Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Downing Student Union.

Reporter Jamie Williams can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].