SGA senate faces judicial review

March 3, 2020

After a 4-1 vote in favor, the Student Government Association (SGA) Judicial Board is moving forward with a review of the senate.

The review process serves to determine whether or not the SGA senate was in violation of the SGA constitution and bylaws after failing to make their meeting agendas public before four consecutive meetings.

At the meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Judicial Board determined that an adjudicated decision was needed on the claim that SGA was in violation of Article 3 in their bylaws.

Justice Lisa Hinton, the one member who voted against the review, stated that Article 3 was not sufficiently clear about what a “student engagement platform” referred to. However, SGA members have posted agendas to the Mountain Lion Connect platform prior to the four missing agendas.

Last year, Hinton and justice Breanna Arnold served in the senate, with Hinton serving as Senator of LAS and Arnold serving as Senator-at-Large.

The final review, scheduled for March 3, will determine whether SGA was in violation of their constitution, after failing to post their meeting agendas from four consecutive meetings, between Jan. 23 to Feb. 13, during which approximately $35,000 was allocated to clubs and organizations.

SGA bylaws, which give clarification to expected policies and procedures from their constitution, require SGA as a whole to post agendas, which provide public documentation of the topics and business covered in SGA meetings. The bylaws state that the agendas must be posted no later than 24 hours before each meeting.

Article 3 of SGA bylaws outlines the guidelines all SGA members are required to follow for meetings. Section B in Article 3 requires agendas of all meetings to be posted to the online student engagement platform in addition to being posted on the SGA bulletin board.

Members of student government are not allowed to make binding decisions, allocate funding or pass legislation if an agenda is not posted at least 24 hours before scheduled meetings, according to the bylaws.

Annika Schmidt, a reporter for the Scribe, identified the discrepancy and subsequently filed a request for judicial review as a member of the UCCS student body.

Aidan Meadows, senator of LAS, was present at the meeting as a representative for SGA at the initial Judicial Review meeting.

According to the Judicial Bylaws, the Judicial Board is responsible for interpreting the SGA constitution and administering SGA elections.

Members of the Judicial Board are appointed by the Appointment Advisory Committee and ultimately approved by the SGA Senate, who the Judicial Board is intended to oversee and is the accused party of this review.

Both parties will present their evidence relevant to the review, followed by a rebuttal from the accused party. After a closing statement from both sides, the Judicial Board will deliberate in a Judicial Board Executive Session, where they will reach a decision. The Executive Session, where the ultimate decision will be made, is closed to the public.

During the final stage of the review process on Tuesday, the Judicial Board will also suggest any necessary action following the decision. Schmidt and Meadows had three full school days following the initial hearing on Feb. 25 to prepare materials to submit to the Judicial Board. Each party is expected to prepare their case individually and attend the March 3 meeting to present their arguments.

The Judicial Review will be held on Tuesday, March 3 at 3:15 p.m. in UC102F and is open to the public. A final decision will be made by the Judicial Board within three school days of the review.