Divided senate meeting reveals conflicts within SGA

Annika Schmidt 

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     At a meeting last week, the SGA senate publicly discussed a series of internal concerns and denied the appointment of junior psychology major Rachel Cauwels to the role of student body vice president. They also heard a presentation with updates from Chancellor Venkat Reddy and addressed a senate resolution about the College Pads initiative. 

     Speaker of the Senate and Senator of Graduate School Nicholas St. John announced details about ongoing judicial reviews as part of his announcements from the chair.  

     Of the reviews that St. John commented on, four were allegedly submitted by Student Body President Emily Gregory; two of these were allegedly filed with intent to impeach St. John.  

     Decisions on the reviews have not yet been published and two hearings are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24.  

     In response to the announcements from St. John about the judicial reviews, Maria Bynes, election commissioner and member of the judicial board, addressed the senate to reiterate that information on active judicial reviews are private and should not be shared publicly. 

     Following this exchange, members of SGA, former members of the senate and members of the student body took turns speaking, addressing a multitude of internal concerns. During the extended public speaking session, criticism and complaints were made directed toward several individual members of senate and senate leadership strategies, and toward the senate as a whole for addressing internal “problems” on a public platform. 

     Former senator and former Student Body Vice President Rachel Cauwels also engaged in this dialogue and was set to be appointed as Gregory’s VP at the meeting. Her appointment was denied.  

     At the start of the meeting, Reddy spoke to senate about how the university is remaining flexible in light of the pandemic without losing sight of long-term goals and encouraged senators to ask questions and provide the administration with student insight. His presentation included updates related to COVID-19, student engagement and campus renovations. 

     Senate was also presented with a resolution titled “College Pads” regarding the college pads housing initiative. Senate voted to discuss the resolution at a later meeting. 

     Senate meetings are open to the public and take place every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Check Mountain Lion Connect for more information on SGA senate meetings.