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SGA holds final meeting of semester

WKU+Student+Government+Association+Senate+members+stand+and+say+their+oath+as+they+are+sworn+into+their+new+committees+in+the+SGA+chambers+in+Bowling+Green%2C+Ky.+on+Aug.+29%2C+2023.
Preston Jenkins
WKU Student Government Association Senate members stand and say their oath as they are sworn into their new committees in the SGA chambers in Bowling Green, Ky. on Aug. 29, 2023.

SGA discussed 8 pieces of legislation, elected a new senator, and discussed their budget at the 12th meeting of the 23rd Senate on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Bill 9-23-F: A Bill to Amend the Constitution of the Student Government Association of Western Kentucky University would allow a wording change regarding the stating of “University Senate” in the Constitution. 

The bill was sponsored by the Legislative Operations Committee, which said the University Senate has split into the Faculty Senate and Staff Senate, meaning the Constitution’s current wording is outdated.

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The authors of the bill are Meghan Pierce, LOC chair, Samantha Bodemann, senior senator, Hannah Evans, sophomore senator, and Joel Hornback, senator at large.

Bill 10-23-F: A Bill to Amend the Bylaws of the Student Government Association of Western Kentucky University would allow a rewrite of Section 6 of the Bylaws. Section 6 currently makes references to senator expulsion from the senate.

The bill was also sponsored by the LOC, who said the SGA Constitution states nothing about expulsion from the senate, only impeachment, meaning the Bylaws are inaccurate.

The authors of the bill are Pierce, Bodemann, Evans, and Hornback. 

Bill 11-23-F: A Bill to Amend the Constitution of the Student Government Association of Western Kentucky University would allow an adjustment of how certain committees are named in the Constitution. 

The bill was additionally sponsored by the LOC, which said some committees have had name adjustments that have not been updated in the Constitution, such as the Committee of Enrollment and Student Experience being renamed to the Enrollment and Student Experience Committee.

The author of the bill is Pierce.

Bill 13-23-F: A Bill to Amend the Constitution of the Student Government Association of Western Kentucky University would require the Chief Justice to establish a minimum of 5 office hours per week instead of the current 1-hour minimum.

The bill was sponsored by the Judicial Council and the LOC. 

Isaac King, Chief Justice, said since he is only required to establish 1 office hour per week, it can be hard to contact him, and that this adjustment would make him more available to senators.

The author of the bill is King.

Bill 14-23-F: A Bill to Amend the Constitution of the Student Government Association of Western Kentucky University would allow the addition of a Mahurin Honors College senator.

The purpose of the bill is to establish official representation for the MHC within the senate since there currently is none.

The bill was sponsored by the Judicial Council. The authors of the bill are Ellen Henderson, Associate Chief Justice, and Audrey Clark, junior MHC student.

Bill 15-23-F: Funding for the “Community Builder Excellence” Scholarship would allocate $1,000 from the Legislative Scholarships Budget and $1,000 from the Legislative Discretionary Budget to fund 4 $500 scholarships.

These scholarships would be open to upcoming WKU freshmen who are currently enrolled in the Warren County or Bowling Green Independent school systems.

The sponsor of the bill is the Community Relations Committee, which said the scholarship would not only aid students in funding their education but would additionally encourage incoming student engagement with SGA.

The authors of the bill are Sarah Vincent, junior senator, Ethan Taylor, junior senator, Maiah Cisco, senator at large, and Connor Ferguson, Gordon Ford College of Business Senator.

Bill 16-23-F: A Bill to Amend the Constitution of the Student Government Association of Western Kentucky University would allow increased involvement for the Judicial Council in order to be balanced with the senate and Executive Cabinet.

The bill would require members of the Judicial Council to maintain 2 office hours monthly, which can be achieved by tabling for SGA, meeting with faculty and staff on issues pertaining to SGA, or time spent in the SGA office.

The bill was sponsored by the Judicial Council and the LOC. The author of the bill is King.

Bill 18-23-F: Resolution to Support Wearing of Red on World Autism Awareness Day would allow SGA to support wearing red clothing on April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day.

“I would be profoundly honored if SGA would show support for the neurodivergent community by wearing red in solidarity with them,” Geoffrey Aberle, transfer/non-traditional senator, said. “This is just a resolution. There’s no money involved, there’s no funding. This is just out of the goodness of our hearts.”

The national organization, Autism Speaks, has often encouraged individuals to wear blue on World Autism Awareness Day. There has been some controversy toward the organization over the last year because of its characterization of Autism as a “disorder” they are working to “cure.” 

“Autism is not a disease or an illness or anything like that. It is a difference and it [Autism Speaks] suggests otherwise,” Aberle said. “Don’t support Autism Speaks. Go with red.”

The sponsor of the bill is the Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee. The author of the bill is Aberle.

All 8 pieces of legislation passed unanimously.

During the meeting, Jaden Marshall, freshman journalism major, was elected and sworn into the senator-at-large position in the senate.

“The ability to impact the community, to change just a few things here on campus that may be troubling students is something that I hold deeply in my heart,” Marshall said.

Additionally, Salvador León gave a report on the legislative discretionary budget spending this semester.

SGA’s legislative discretionary budget for the 2023-2024 academic year is $9,750. 

Approximately 14.87% of the budget ($1,347.63) has been spent so far, meaning there is $8,402.37 left in the budget to be used during the spring 2024 semester.

Because of this, SGA will be able to allocate an average of $654.22 in spending from the legislative discretionary budget during each meeting for the remainder of the academic year.

“If we are able to establish committee partnerships, and keep being intentional as we have been with writing legislation, we’re going to be able to reach that amount,” León said. “Everything that we have been doing this year has been for the students, and we have just been trying to find ways to reach them.”

SGA passed 18 pieces of legislation during the Fall 2023 semester, making campus and community-wide impacts and funding and organizing events such as the Pink Walk and the recent Veterans Day 5K.

“This year’s senate has done an outstanding job at writing legislation that has had a positive impact on WKU’s community,” Sydney Denney, speaker of the senate, said. “This senate has prioritized inclusivity and exhibited a deep care for their student peers and Bowling Green community.”

News Reporter Ali Costellow can be reached at [email protected]

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