Nearly one-third of the Student Government Association’s 36 senators have been brought up for judicial review this semester due to excessive absences
A total of 10 senators were called before the judicial board for being absent from committee and full senate meetings too often. Of those senators, two — Kevin Adams and Kevin Preston — were dismissed from the senate after they failed to attend their judicial hearings.
Justice Chris Jankowski said they both had between eight to 10 absences, counting both senate and committee meetings.
“How our judicial council interprets not showing up at a review is intent to resign,” said Chief Justice David Spalding.
Senate members are required to attend the full senate and committee meetings every week. SGA allows three absences — two excused and one unexcused.
There are different committees to choose from within SGA that each meet once a week. Each senator must attend one of these as well as the senate meeting.
The bylaws state that once the senator is notified of his or her excessive absences, they should appear before the judicial council to explain the reasons for the frequent absences. They can also explain why the absences will not occur again. The council is then required to meet and decide on the matter within seven days and notify all parties as soon as possible.
The members brought up for review were “all given the very sternest of warnings,” Spalding said.
Jankowski said senators with excessive absences tend to miss both the weekly senate meetings on Tuesdays and their committee meetings as well.
“Committees are where bills are drafted, ideas are put together, and really that’s where they get to voice their opinions because when they come together as a body, they’re coming to vote — they’re not really coming to come up with ideas,” he said.
Spalding said that a few of the senators who were up for review weren’t as habitually absent as it seemed, adding that there was some confusion among senators about submitting their excuses on the SGA website and getting them to the right place.
Spalding also said they plan to get back on track after this “very minor speed bump.”
SGA President Billy Stephens said the presidential appointments to the two newly empty seats should be made at tonight’s meeting. Spalding will be the one to administer oaths of office.
As the semester continues, Jankowski said the judicial council will be issuing a judicial opinion that could interpret the SGA Constitution in a different way. He said there will be more on that in upcoming weeks.
“It’ll give the senators a little more leeway in their absences,” Jankowski said.
Jankowski also said the senators who got a warning are allowed one more warning before they are removed unless there is an extenuating circumstance which the judicial council will take into consideration.