Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Power outage rocks campus
Power outage rocks campus
Jack Brandt September 13, 2023

SGA holds special elections and makes amendments to bylaws, constitution

On Thursday, Sept. 20 the Student Government Association (SGA) held special elections and discussed amendments to the bylaws and constitution proposed at the previous week’s meeting.
According to SGA President Adam Gronewold, special elections follow the standard election when a seat is open due to lack of interest by the student body to fill it or a resignation. When this happens, members of the senate seek among their peers to fill the open spaces.
“[The senate] can make a nomination for someone to fill that role as long as that person is actually a part of that constituency. So, for example, you have to be a bio major or a physics major or chem to be a natural science representative,” Gronewold said.
“It’s a case-by-case basis,” SGA Vice President Belle Hartman said, “with [this predicament], we had six spots to fill.”
Each open spot was filled: Dale Charlier, Natural Sciences; Katie Dejulius, Seminary Hall; Erich Fang, Campus Ministries; Stanley Mensah, Andreen Hall; Melissa Reis, Fine and Performing Arts; and Annie Wheeler, Swanson Commons.
According to Hartman, these new senators have all the same responsibilities as the rest of the association: “The main goals for senators are the campus hours and SGA hours—so, reaching out to the rest of the student body and being more present.”
“They were also appointed to committees of our organization specifically,” Gronewold said, “whether that be [as] an Administrative Liaison, which is essentially ‘how can we bridge the gap better with administration?’, or whether that’s Student Wellness…[where] the projects they take on are solely focused on anything related to physical/mental wellness on campus and just improving that environment and aspect of our college.”
“I communicate the goals and opinions of the Campus Ministries community to the Student Government Association,” newly elected Campus Ministries Senator Erich Fang said. “I’m very involved with the church community so I figured it would be cool to be involved in this. One of my goals is that everyone be equally represented whether you’re Christian, no matter what faith you are—that you be equally represented to the association.”
“I have always been interested in social justice and social change and there are a lot of things on this campus that I am unhappy with, as well as happy with. I love Augustana and I love going here, but I think the best way for me to make a change, especially my senior year as I’m leaving, would be through SGA,” newly elected Fine and Performing Arts Senator Melissa Reis said.
Along with special elections, three new amendments to the bylaws and one new amendment to the constitution were discussed at the Sept. 20 meeting.
“Two amendments passed without much question. One of these was an amendment to our bylaws which required a simple majority vote. The other was a constitutional amendment that required a two-thirds majority vote,” Gronewold said in an email. “The other two amendments—the ones regarding funding of student groups and group recognition—were preceded by lively debate. Both were friendly-amended. This means that through Robert’s Rules of Order, members of the Senate adapted the language already proposed by these bills.”
“The constitutional amendment itself really wasn’t that significant of a change,” Gronewold said. “It was essentially stating that instead of our speaker training members of the senate every term, we would do one training throughout the year and the [understanding] was that after that, we’re all up to speed on how the organization operates and it just really saves time and allows people to do things that are more significant to our campus than attend a training.”
As for the three bylaw amendments, “one essentially redefined what it means to be a commuter and to serve in the commuter role; one was specifically about how our organization funds student groups, and that was really kind of just a reorganization of policies that we already had, or formalizing policy that we had in practice but wasn’t written anywhere officially.
“And then the third one is essentially more re-defining Student Government’s role in the student group process: what it means to be a student group at the college. That’s something that currently Hartman and I are looking into with several administrators and we think there’s room to kind of restructure all of that just because there’s a lot of grey area on what it means to be a student group, how you get funding, stuff like that,” Gronewold said.
According to Gronewold, making an amendment is something that anyone can do with a sponsor from a member of the senate: “Any student could draft an amendment and it just kind of has to have a general format which explains the reasoning, and then the change.”
“Then they will present that in front of the senate and then we will vote on it from there,” Hartman said.
Since their inauguration in April, Gronewold, and SGA have already contributions to the college. These include, but are not limited to, leading an event surrounding mental health, assisting in the upcoming release of a campus safety app, and discussing the potential removal of cable from residence halls with Chris Beyer, Director of Residential Life.

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SGA holds special elections and makes amendments to bylaws, constitution