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June 30, 2022

SGA discusses statement on Ukraine, budget guidelines, event reports and confirmations

By HELEN LACEY | March 5, 2022

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Senator McGuinness argued that SGA needs to take a stance on political matters in certain cases. 

The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly meeting on March 1 in order to discuss its position on expressing solidarity with Ukraine, amendments to the Student Activities Commission (SAC) guidelines, results of the Twosday freshman class council event, SGA tabling event reports and confirmations.

Solidarity with Ukraine

Sophomore Class President Kobi Khong introduced a bill sponsored by Sophomore Class Senator Harvey McGuinness and Senior Class President Nathan Mudrak that, if passed, would express SGA’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people and condemn the humanitarian crisis prompted by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The bill also called on SGA to ask the University for an official stance on the situation in Ukraine and to support a cross-divisional demonstration on March 5 involving the School of Medicine, School of Public Health, School of Nursing and Graduate Representative Organization (GRO) at Homewood Campus.

  • Junior Class Senator Peter Huang, though acknowledging the reasoning behind the bill, expressed concern “about taking a political stance on this issue. This conflict, invasion, whatever you frame it, is more complicated than autocracy versus democracy.” He argued that expressing sole support for the Ukrainian populace would “isolate the Russian people in our community who really didn’t make this decision to go to war with Ukraine.”
  • Huang suggested that an amendment be added to clarify that the Russian government’s actions weren’t made by the Russian people and to “not necessarily condemn Russian actions totally in order to maintain that [SGA has] a politically neutral stance on this issue.”
  • McGuinness disagreed with Huang’s opinion, stating that “as members of a political body, it is important to take a political stance sometimes.”
  • McGuinness emphasized that the bill is focusing on the humanitarian aspect of the situation and that the groups being supported at the Saturday vigil are “all humanitarian in nature.” Moreover, he declared that SGA should take a political stance on this humanitarian matter.
  • Mudrak expressed doubt as to whether his fellow SGA members have ever scrutinized previous resolutions this carefully, stating that “as a Ukrainian, that makes me very upset.”
  • The bill passed, with seven members abstaining from voting.

Student Activities Commission guidelines

Executive Treasurer Karen He presented the 2022-23 Student Activities Commission budget guidelines

  • She emphasized that the guidelines would involve a gradual rollout, stating that “if we did this all at once, it would probably be a lot more confusing for the [student] groups.”
  • Mudrak proposed an amendment to the annual allocations maximums, arguing that budget caps should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Mudrak recognized that groups doing their own fundraising events should receive more generous budget caps.
  • Senior Class Senator Pritika Parmar countered that the amendment would be difficult to enforce, noting the lack of a strict definition of a fundraising event.
  • Mudrak’s amendment was rejected, and a further discussion of amendments to the SAC guidelines was tabled to the next SGA meeting.

Twosday event report

Freshman Class President Ryan Chou recapped the freshman class council’s Twosday tabling event.

  • Chou recounted the success of the event, although he noted the problems they faced with poor weather.
  • Freshman Class Senator Jackson Morris expressed that the council “learned that preparation is key.” Morris noted that more time to prepare for the event would have been beneficial.

SGA tabling event report

Executive Vice President Breanna Soldatelli provided a recap of the SGA tabling event on Feb. 25.

  • Soldatelli emphasized the importance of spreading awareness of SGA’s actions and events, as well as listening to the feedback of those who attended the tabling event.
  • She also noted that Wednesday’s event turnout was greater than that of Friday. 

Junior class senator confirmation

Reid Brotmann, a junior majoring in Economics, was unanimously appointed as a junior class senator. 

  • Brotmann discussed his desire to create a Minecraft server and help wherever he needed in event planning. 
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