The Student Government Association (SGA) reflected on the past year and passed two funding bills at its weekly meeting on Tuesday, April 6.
When discussing this year’s internal reforms, Executive Secretary Breanna Soldatelli expressed her belief that SGA successfully shifted its work to meet COVID-19 guidelines. However, she argued that there were some issues with senator attendance, which should be enforced more strictly.
“Some people end up doing way more than is their fair share of work. [We need to] make sure that there is a system of accountability in place for each SGA member in addition to SGA as a whole,” she said.
Sophomore Class Senator Karen He suggested that SGA create a form for members to submit their absences.
Junior Class President Nathan Mudrak argued that the rules on what constitutes an excused absence need to be standardized.
“Generally speaking, we need to be modeling the things that we ask of groups both in terms of COVID guidelines and in terms of how we spend our finances,” he said.
Freshman Class Senator Jenny Chen proposed that SGA members get to know one another better through SGA-exclusive events.
“We really only talk to each other when we have a bill or GBM, but besides that, we never do anything to get to know one another,” she said.
Freshman Class Senator Raj Bhatt agreed with Chen, comparing his SGA experience to being in his high school’s student government.
“One thing that I do miss from my high school is that there was a much more personal connection between student government and teachers — in this case, faculty and professors,” he said. “I know that’s not always feasible, but it would be nice to start meeting with professors because ultimately a lot of the things we do affect them.”
During the meeting, Junior Class Senator Megan Chien also introduced the Sex Week funding bill. This bill will fund SGA’s Sex Week event in collaboration with the Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU) and the Center for Health Education and Well-Being (CHEW). The event will be held during the last week of April as a way to promote sexual assault awareness and body positivity.
Chien described some of the planned events, including bingo with sex toys as prizes and a two-night bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) workshop.
“The first night is going to be about general BDSM, and the second will go more in-depth about how to safely practice it in your personal life,” she said.
She noted that one problem encountered during SGA’s last Sex Week event was that some attendees were harassing others intentionally. Chien assured that solutions have been created to maintain a more respectful environment for attendees.
“They were consciously disregarding the conduct of respect in the Zoom. So the first option is to report to [the Office of Institutional Equity]. We’ll also be monitoring the chat and kicking people out and making sure... they can’t rejoin and come back to interrupt our event,” she said.
Chien explained that the names of attendees will be kept track of during the Zoom events, but the CampusGroups RSVP list will be anonymous.
“We want to encourage people to talk, so we want to keep those names on the Zoom. The [anonymity] on CampusGroups is more to encourage people to join the event so you don’t get harassed or lightly teased by friends,” she said.
Soldatelli agreed that keeping track of names on Zoom is important to further discourage disrespectful behavior.
The bill was passed.
Executive President Sam Mollin also passed a smoothie funding bill. The bill would allow SGA to purchase 50 smoothies to give away as incentives to people who come to SGA’s tabling events. A friendly amendment was added to reallocate the money to cold drinks if the smoothies do not meet prepackaged food requirements.
Mollin described his hopes for the impact of this bill.
“Regardless of whether it’s smoothies or whether it’s cold drinks, I am confident that serving this to students at a tabling event will be a great way to make people’s lives a little bit better and get some more interest for our event,” he said.