SGA senate in violation by unanimous vote

March 10, 2020

With a unanimous vote, the Judicial Board found that the SGA senate was in violation of their bylaws. Based on factual findings and analysis of Articles 2 and 3 of SGA bylaws, the decision, SP20-01, ruled in favor of defendant Annika Schmidt, who is also a reporter for the Scribe. The Judicial Board determined that all meetings in dispute were in violation of SGA Governing Documents.

The Feb. 13 meeting was in violation for not posting the correct agenda after the fact, failing to comply with Article 3, Section B, which specifies the guidelines for SGA meetings. The preceding three meetings were determined to be in violation, because access failed to be “free and independent,” as specified in Article 2, Section A of the constitution that requires matters of governance to be “accessible [and] open.”

The official decision was released to Schmidt and Meadows on Wednesday, March 4 and posted publicly to Mountain Lion Connect on Thursday, March 5. The document outlines the Judicial Board’s factual findings, analysis of the issue and the final decision, determining that the SGA senate was in violation. This decision follows the review by the Judicial Board on Tuesday, March 3.

The Judicial Review on March 3 began with an opening statement from Aidan Meadows, Speaker of the Chair for the SGA senate, presenting his evidence. Meadows presented screenshots of the private agendas and an edition of the Scribe paper.

The screenshots were provided as evidence for Meadows’ claim that the agendas were posted and not publicly available because of a technical error with Mountain Lion Connect, and thereby not in violation of Article 3. Meadows’ statement was followed by Schmidt, who first noticed that SGA senate agendas were not publicly available for four consecutive meetings, where $35,000 in student fees had been allocated. Schmidt argued that SGA was in violation of its bylaws for failing to publicly post their agendas to the student engagement platform.

Both parties were questioned by the Judicial Board, with Chief Justice Kyle Kight and Election Commissioner Mike Acevedo questioning Meadows about the accessibility and “free and independent” access required of agendas. The duration of the review focused primarily on the definition of “posted,” as specified in Article 3.

Prior to the Judicial Review hearing, the SGA senate held a meeting to vote again on the issues during the disputed meetings. In their official statement, the Judicial Board determined that this affirmation “sufficiently resolves the violation,” and recommends that the guidelines for posting agendas be clarified. However, the party responsible for clarifying the term “posted” in Article 3 was not specified in the Judicial Board’s review.