SGA passes 4 bills, 1 resolution during lengthy Tuesday meeting

Lashana Harney

Two hours of debate and technical questions at Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting ended with fewer senators and more uncertainties. 

Bill 8-15-S, Funding for the WKU African Student Union, passed 12 to four. However, many senators abstained from the vote. The bill allocated $500 to the ASU as a reimbursement. The money covers expenses the ASU spent to attend a conference, “Taste of Africa,” at the University of Kentucky. 

ASU acting-president Henry Nottinson said the group is to form a home away from for Africans.

“This group is ready to kick off,” Nottinson said. “It’s ready to start off fresh and it is ready to start with a great mission.”

He said the reimbursement is to lessen the burden on the members who paid out of pocket to attend the conference.

“We don’t have enough to keep the ball rolling,” said Nottinson. 

Nottinson said ASU needed SGA to pass the bill so the group could continue at the same momentum. 

SGA senator Jody Dahmer voted against the bill. During his opposition speech, he said passing the bill would set a precedent for other organizations to file for aid through the senate discretionary funds. 

“If we decide to vote yes on this, then that means any organization even if they already received organizational aid can still petition senators to give, in their [the senator’s] name, money to their [student organization] group,” Dahmer said. “Even if they already received $500, there is nothing to prevent us from giving more because it is discretionary funding. This is a big can of worms here.”

Dahmer said with the passing of Bill 8-15-S, senate must hear all bills any other organization presents regarding receiving funding from the legislative discretionary budget. However, Dahmer said senators could opt out of sponsoring a bill for an organization because of the precedent this bill instates.

“I have the right, as it is my opinion, to refuse what organizations I want to write a bill for because it is my discretion,” he said. 

At the end of the meeting, Dahmer said because Bill 8-15-S passed, he will bring a bill to senate to ask for funds from the legislative discretionary budget that will be used to purchase security cameras for the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

“We feel really unsafe in our living area,” he said. “So, I will be writing a bill for the remaining discretionary funding to get us those security cameras.”

Resolution 8-15-S, Resolution to Support Adopting a Moment of Silence Mandate as a Prayer Policy for Western Kentucky University, passed 12 to 10.  

The resolution supports the implementation of a prayer policy that allows moments of silence rather than a sectarian prayer at university events. 

Bill 10-15-S, Funding for the Installation and Maintenance of Surveillance Video Systems, was tabled. If passed, the bill would allocate $1,651.89 to help purchase a video camera that will be placed in the Downing Student Union ground floor lobby. Another camera will be purchased with money from the DSU budget. 

Bill author J. William Berry said student concerns regarding the safety of the DSU ground floor lobby after hours inspired the bill.

The bill was postponed due to uncertainties pertaining to possible alternatives or avenues of which to take. It will be up for a vote at next week’s meeting.

Resolution 6-15-S, Resolution to Increase Scholarship Accountability and Transparency, was also postponed. The senate will vote on the resolution in next week’s meeting. Resolution 6-15-S states senators on the scholarship-grading committees must move to a different committee if they choose to apply for a scholarship. 

President Nicki Taylor said this was a way to ensure integrity and fairness during the grading process. 

“Any senator can still apply for a scholarship,” she said. “They will have to switch committees first and that’s just for the transparency of the grading process.”

The resolution was postponed due to possible amendments. It was unclear on how to define executive cabinet members’ eligibility to apply to SGA scholarships.

Bill 12-15-S, Funding from Organizational Aid Appropriations for Baptist Campus Ministry, Chinese Music Club, Christian Student Fellowship, Phi Alpha Delta, Environmental Health Science Student Association, the Association of Management, Technology and Applied Engineering, and Alpha Epsilon Delta, passed.

The bill allocated $500 to the Baptist Campus Ministry, Christian Student Fellowship, Environmental Heal Science Student Association, The Association of Management, Technology, and Applied Engineering, and Alpha Epsilon Delta. 

The bill allocated $450 to the Chinese Music Club and $330 to Phi Alpha Delta. 

The senate suspended the bylaws to allow Bill 13-15-S and Bill 14-15-S to be moved into unfinished business.

Both bills passed unanimously.

Bill 13-15-S, Bill to Fund SGA’s Sponsorship of WKU’s Office of Sustainability’s Earth Day Event, allocated $250 from legislative discretionary funds to fund the Earth Day Event scheduled for April 22. 

Bill 14-15-S, Funding For Fall 2015 Study Abroad Scholarships and Fall 2015 Scholar Development Grants, allocated $11,400 from the budget of the Academic Affairs Committee to provide study abroad scholarships and $3,750 from the budget of the Academic Affairs Committee to provide scholar development grants.

The senate approved President Taylor’s proposal an executive order to establish a senate election code committee. Taylor said she would chair the committee and the committee will look over election codes and make decisions to change the codes if necessary on May 1.