Reviewing the referenda
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Along with the election of several senator and executive board positions, two referenda will be on the SGA ballot this semester. One referendum moves to add a new senator position to the association, while the other moves amend the current SGA Constitution to reflect changes in enrollment standards.
Both referenda, which were discussed as resolutions 036 and 037, respectively, were adopted during the association’s April 2 meeting.
Resolution 037 faced no opposition from the senators or executive board.
The resolution proposed changing the SGA Constitution to read “Half-time status is defined as being enrolled … for a minimum of five (5) hours as a graduate student.” Previously, the passage indicated that half-time graduate students need only be enrolled in a minimum of four credit hours.
This change was proposed so that the constitution properly reflects the current enrollment standards set by the university.
Resolution 036, however, was the center of heavy debate.
The resolution proposed the addition of an on-campus resident senator, who would specifically address concerns possessed by UIS students who live on-campus. Internal Vice President Grace Rosado wrote the resolution, and President Austin Mehmet presented it in her place.
Following the dissolution of the Resident Housing Association, Mehmet explained that students lacked an accessible option to address their concerns with housing. He told the story of a student who approached the Department of Residence Life directly, only to face “a very aggressive response back,” leading the student to feel uncomfortable in directly addressing the department in the future.
While come concern existed over whether or not an on-campus resident senator’s duties would overlap too much with other senators’, the SGA eventually decided that the specific needs of on-campus residents warranted a specific senator.
Another aspect to the debate was whether or not an off-campus resident senator position should be created. The full debate lasted roughly 30 minutes and ended with the SGA adopting the resolution as it was written, without the inclusion of an off-campus resident senator.
Full coverage of the debate can be found in the April 5 edition of The Journal, or online at uisjournal.com.
As the resolutions both propose changes the SGA Constitution, the student body must vote on them. This vote will occur alongside the elections on April 12 and 13 through UISConnection.