The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly meeting on March 29 in order to discuss amendments to its bylaws, endorsement of expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for college students, budget requests and inauguration funding.
Junior Class Senator JiWon Woo presented multiple amendments to the SGA bylaws.
- Amendments included removal of the Executive Board’s Class Council Task Force, changing the face of SGA meet-and-greets from the Executive Vice President to the Executive President, movement of the training requirements to the SGA Rules Bill, an additional required meeting with the Executive Board and the advisor in the case of impeachments, changes to SGA absence policies so that medical and family leave do not count toward absences and a more structured process for filling senatorial vacancies.
- Executive Vice President Breanna Soldatelli emphasized the importance of changing the absence policy, stating that she has “12.5 excused absences because I had to take two weeks off for a hospitalization, which means I will be up for impeachment if I am late even once more, so this isn’t fair to me or anybody else who’s had to take medical or family leave.”
- Junior Class Senator Chinat Yu proposed an additional amendment to remove impeachment trials from the bylaws, describing the process as having “a negative impact on one’s mental health and well-being.”
- Senior Class President Nathan Mudrak countered Yu by explaining the importance of impeachment trials in SGA, stating, “it’s a valuable trigger for us to have... I want to emphasize that impeachment does not equal removal.”
- Yu’s amendment was rejected as a result of it being in violation of the Constitution, which states that if a member of SGA misses two unexcused meetings during a semester, they are automatically subject to impeachment.
- All other bylaw amendments passed unanimously.
Soldatelli presented an opportunity for SGA to declare its support in favor of the permanent extension of expanded eligibility requirements for SNAP. The sponsorship was requested by the Student Basic Needs Coalition, which is urging Congress to pass legislation in favor of these expansions.
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allowed SNAP benefits to automatically include all students with either an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero or eligibility for state or federal work studies, as long as they also meet the income requirements.
- Freshman Class Senator Jackson Morris expressed his support for SGA signing the request, stating that “this is a really, really important thing for us to endorse, as Johns Hopkins has historically mostly served people that were rich.”
- SGA expressed unanimous support for the endorsement.
SGA budget requests
Executive Treasurer Karen He presented the budget outline for the 2022-23 academic year to be submitted to the dean of student life for approval.
- The budget request asked for $24,000 to support SGA operating costs and $270,000 for funds that will be allocated to other student groups.
- Freshman Class Senator Dalhart Dobbs III proposed a friendly amendment to reallocate money from Finance Committee initiatives to SGA operating costs in order to fund retreats.
- Dobbs’ amendment was accepted.
- The bill passed with only Mudrak opposing.
Junior Class Senator Obi Onyinanya presented the funding for SGA inauguration.
- Onyinanya expressed a desire to make the event special since it is their “first time back in two years.”
- The total expected cost is $2,041.75.
- The bill passed unanimously.