Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 14, 2024

SGA debates caucus amendment

By AIMEE CHO | March 19, 2023

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STEVEN SIMPSON / PHOTO EDITOR

SGA discussed funding options for the annual FIJI Islander philanthropy event.

The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly general body meeting on March 14 to present adjustments in the Student Activities Commission (SAC) Guidelines, a counter proposal for the Phi Delt Crab Fest and amendments in the constitution for caucuses. SGA also discussed the Gift of Life, Blue Hatchlings, Copa America and Fiji Islander presentations.

Student Activities Commission (SAC) Guidelines — first reading

Treasurer Kya Nicholson presented modifications in the SAC guidelines based on event funding grants from this semester.

  • If the student organization has more than $750 currently, SAC has the right to deny any funding requests.
  • New student groups will receive $100 instead of the original $150.
  • The annual and semesterly cap on prize items previously did not match, and the semesterly cap was replaced by an annual $500 cap.
  • The subcap for food increased to match present market prices. “A lot of clubs that have a large event open to the public often are requesting more than $5 per attendee, especially with inflation. We want to change that subcap to $8,” Nicholson noted.

Phi Delt Crab Fest — first reading

Sophomore Class President Ryan Chou stated that SGA will likely make a counter-proposal to the Phi Delt Crab Fest Event Bill from last week based on the funding capabilities of the SGA.

  • Sophomore Class Senator Jackson Morris voiced that $3,000 to $3,500 is more reasonable compared to $6,000 proposed by Phi Delt.

Caucus amendment — first reading

Chou introduced caucus amendments in the constitution which goes into effect April 18, 2023. Currently, the constitution require caucuses to have more than 20 active members. If membership drops under the threshold for any two consecutive weeks, the caucus will be inactivated.

  • Junior Class Senator Shalala Leny said that having a membership requirement is contradicting the fundamental purpose of the caucus to represent a minority group.
  • Junior Class Senator Mufasa Cruz Moreno criticized the proposed amendments. “This feels like a huge misrepresentation for a lot of minority groups especially because that's what the caucuses are. [The caucuses] represent an entire body and that body does not disappear because they don’t hit this limit,” he said.
  • Morris said that from the disability caucus standpoint, most of what the caucus does happens in the group chat and many of the people who share ideas are not necessarily formal members. 
  • Secretary Elaina Regier agreed with Moreno that minority communities are active with or without a caucus, and that is why it is okay for a threshold to be present since there are senators representing the minority groups to SGA regardless of the presence of an elected representative.
  • Moreno maintained disapproval of setting a limit to represent identities, but if it must exist then the threshold must be lowered to 5 to 10 to be consistent with student organization membership requirements.
  • Junior Class Senator Jenny Chen cited concerns over the excessive concentration on membership. “This puts quite a lot of pressure on chairs to focus on recruiting rather than actually addressing the issues of these communities and groups,” she said.
  • Chou defended his proposal as an idea to motivate the caucus chairs to recruit more people from outside SGA but stated that he will consider lowering the cap.

SGA storefront

Director of Social Affairs Milton Diaz proposed opening a marketplace for SGA merchandise. He stated that the Storefront will allow people to buy seasonal SGA designs of their choice.

  • Diaz clarified that the future funding bill will depend on the number of interested students.

Blue Hatchlings presentation

Elizabeth Im presented Blue Hatchlings, a nonprofit that aims to provide affordable, convenient and high-quality childcare services for working parents in the Hopkins community.

  • The organization built partnerships with the School of Education, School of Public Health, Maryland Family Network and the Developmental Psychology Department faculties.
  • Blue Hatchlings hopes to provide work-study positions and for-credit positions for undergraduate employees.
  • The biggest challenges faced by the organization are finding a facility that is on-campus or very close to campus to be used as a childcare center and recruiting undergraduate students. They hope SGA can provide pointers and facilitate meetings with university leadership and representatives, advice on how to recruit more undergraduates and clarification on whether the organization will fit under Registered Student Organizations or the Center for Social Concern.
  • Sophomore Class Senator Dalhart Dobbs recommended they approach leadership who would be interested in childcare. Dobbs claimed that SGA cannot fund a student organization to pay student workers but would fund supplies at the facility.
  • Senior Class Senator Elisa Rodriguez asked about the benefits of funding this organization instead of creating scholarships for the existing daycares on campus. Im replied that the problem with daycare isn’t just the price but also the exhaustive waitlists. Existing daycares cannot add more staff because of facility space limits.
  • Dobbs suggested approaching the Psychology Department for funding as most departments have a budget allocated for student organizations.

Copa America Event proposal

Club Colombia President Juliana Marquez, Vice President Luis Rubio and Brazilian Students Association President Victor Aldridge proposed Copa America Hopkins, a soccer tournament event that mimics Copa America, a Latin American football championship, to unite the Latinx community at Hopkins. 

  • Eight teams, each representing Latinx nationalities, will be competing. There will be a $2 entry fee for each player, $1 for snow cones and $3 for raffle entries for a Brazilian jersey. Profits will be donated to an Amazon Forest conservation organization.
  • Senior Class Senator Alaa Fadlalla raised concerns about the event happening during reading period, which may lead to decreased attendance. 
  • Rubio explained that the previous week is Spring Fair, so the field cannot be used, and it is difficult to organize the event before that. “I also don’t think [the date] will be a significant factor because most students will be on campus. I think people will appreciate a small break from studying for finals,” Rubio said.
  • President Breanna Soldatelli suggested considering an event funding grant instead of or in addition to an SGA co-sponsorship. Morris agreed, adding that SGA sponsorship will require writing a bill to pass the senate after spring break.

FIJI Islander presentation

Senior Marwan Bayoumy presented Fiji Islander 2023, an annual philanthropy event hosted by FIJI (Phi Gamma Delta) Beta Mu.

  • Last year, Fiji Islander 2022 raised around $5,000 to be donated to One Love Foundation. This year, profits will be donated to the Baltimore Design School.
  • Bayoumy anticipates this year will be a bigger event in consideration of lifted COVID-19 restrictions and the event happening during alumni weekend. In light of this, he proposed that SGA purchase 600–800 tickets that will be claimed by the senior class for free and first-come-first-serve.
  • Morris said SGA may not be able to commit to the high cost due to budget limits.
  • Senior Class Senator Sophie Liu suggested requesting Student Activities Commission (SAC) funding if SGA cannot sponsor the event.
  • Vice President Kobi Khong mentioned that last year, the tickets were bought by the senior class council, not SGA.
  • Sophomore Class Senator Brandon Benjamin recommended making a decision on whether SGA or a specific class will purchase the tickets. They will have a certain number of free tickets only available to certain students on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Editor’s Note: The article was edited to clarify the current terms of the caucus.


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