Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 14, 2022

SGA passes legislation to increase transparency

By KATERINA FRYE | February 27, 2020

The Student Government Association (SGA) finalized the budgeting process for student groups at its weekly meeting on Tuesday. SGA also passed two bills intended to improve its transparency to the student body. 

Sophomore Class President Nathan Mudrak passed the Communication Act. SGA members will now be required to submit written notes or minutes for all meetings with non-SGA entities, including administrators. Another component of the bill mandates that SGA emails contain a link to an anonymous feedback form, so that students can voice any concerns they have directly to SGA.

In addition, SGA passed the Livestreaming Bill, requiring SGA to live stream its weekly meetings. Some members questioned the logistics of this endeavor, noting that their large room will worsen the quality of the recordings. Senior members suggested that younger, quieter members might be less likely to participate knowing that they are being broadcasted.

Nevertheless, the bill passed, requiring SGA to begin livestreaming at its next meeting. In an email to The News-Letter, Mudrak reflected on the potential impact of these bills, which were  tabled at SGA’s last meeting of the fall semester

“By live-streaming meetings, I hope to increase SGA’s accessibility to the student body. Public input on our actions is absolutely critical to ensuring that we stay a representative body; by passing this bill, SGA has affirmed our desire to build a culture of informed, representative and impactful student governance,” he wrote.

SGA also reviewed the budget allocation process for student groups on campus. Alerts will now notify members of student groups if their budgets are running low. Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI) director Calvin Smith, Jr., who is SGA’s advisor, noted that the new budgeting process includes increased oversight for groups’ accounts. 

Additionally, Senior Class Senator Chase McAdams explained that SGA has clarified guidelines around “monthly grants.”

“The monthly grants cannot be used to repay debts, nor can they be used to buy more food for a group event. The grants are supposed to be used to pay for new initiatives,” he said. 

Groups recognized by SGA may submit their proposed annual budgets through Hopkins Groups during the allocation period, which is March 1 to 13. The Student Activities Commission (SAC), SGA’s funding board, then has one month to approve or reject budget proposals. Groups that were deactivated during last fall’s audit will instead have to petition SAC for reactivation and then re-register in the fall. 

This fall, the University will begin implementing changes to the academic calendar in order to provide consistency across all nine divisions of the University. One change specifies that if Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day falls on the fourth Monday of January, classes will start on the Tuesday before MLK, reducing the number of instruction days for Intersession classes. 

SGA members expressed concerns about these changes and discussed the idea of conducting a poll to share with the administration. 

However, Junior Class Senator William Cho said that, as of now, the new academic calendar will be implemented next year.

Next, McAdams passed the Governing Board Act, legislation intended to allow student groups to receive greater support from SGA. 

He explained that this will also allow SGA’s Committee on Student Organizations (CSO), of which he is chair, to make more informed decisions. Governing boards will fall under the CSO’s jurisdiction and represent each category of student group under SGA, except for Greek life and sports clubs. 

In addition, Senior Class Senator Chanel Lee passed the SGA-GRO Regular Communication Bill. The bill is intended to foster collaboration between SGA and the Graduate Representative Organization. Lee explained that certain members from each group will now attend each other’s meetings and meet with each other at the beginning of each semester.

“It’s important that our groups work together since we share the same goals and objectives in terms of student life, safety and security, health and wellness and student activities. This communication is critical, and this also allows us to create a stronger atmosphere for student government,” they said.

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