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SGA approves senator replacements

Published (Volume 77, No. 6)

The Student Government Associ-ation senate met last Thursday night in the UC primarily to discuss committee and senate business and Homecoming activities.

Martin Mayor Randy Brundige spoke at the meeting to give the senate updates on Martin’s cooperation with UTM. Brundige cited the below- average 0.2 inches of rain as reason for fire trucks at the Homecoming bonfire, and he also informed senators that the Martin Police Department will no longer be able to provide security for UTM functions. Brundige quoted “risk management” as the cause for the new policy. The mayor said that organizations wishing to have security must hire private guards.

Brundige also gave advice to UTM students. “Have a great Homecoming this week. Be responsible in what you do. We don’t want any incidents. If you’re going to drink, get you a driver,” Brundige said.

Chief Justice Beau Pemberton summarized the progress of the constitutional review committee, which is “nearing the end of its work” to draft a proposed revision of the SGA constitution.
Highlighting Pemberton’s recom-mendation are revisions to the Freshman Council elections process, GPA requirements, monetary author-ization, senator duties, and senate attendance.

The committee suggested holding Freshman Council officer nominations at their first meeting and postponing elections until the second meeting to allow for candidates to develop platforms. Pemberton also suggested implementing an independent audit of the SGA budget.

“It’s better to have a paper trail rather than have to cover your rear end,” Pemberton said.

Additionally, Pemberton asked senators to re-evaluate the necessity for senators to pass a written test over the SGA constitution.

President Dusty Dean updated the senate on the first-ever President’s Roundtable. Nearly 30 presidents and a handful of faculty members attended the event.

The theme of the roundtable was communica-tion; President Dusty Dean said that under previous administrations, communication between campus clubs and organizations had been faulty, and he hopes that the roundtable will help interaction.

The All-Students Council, the 1920s predecessor to SGA, consisted of the presidents of student clubs. While the modern President’s Roundtable is not a functioning body, Dean hopes that it can serve an advisory and cooperative function.

“When I first took office back in April, one of the first things I wanted was to get in touch with all the organizations on campus,” Dean said. “One of the main themes of SGA this year is connectivity.”

Sen. Adam Wilson, member of the election commission, assured the senate that the online Homecoming elections would go smoothly. Wilson said there are three backup plans:  the first two are software-based and the third uses paper ballots in case of a technology failure.

Dean’s two appointments to the seats vacated when Will Bird and Clarissa Porterfield resigned from their positions came before the senate for approval. Dean’s appointments were Melissa Daniel from the College of Agriculture and Applied Science and Anastasia Umanets from the College of Business and Public Affairs.

Several senators questioned Dean on the selection process for the two appointments, and Dean said he held interviews with applicants and that he believed his two recommendations are qualified. The vote was met with only two objections, and Daniel was sworn in. Umanets was absent.

Sen. Landon Loveall, one of the two objectors to the appointments, was alarmed by the speed of Dean’s application processing.

“The only concern I have is that there were a few that felt they were interested and didn’t get contacted. I think there should have been a more extensive process. We have to get the most qualified candidate in the position,” Loveall said.

In response, Dean said, “I would welcome any constitutional amendments that would clarify the procedure the president follows in appointing senators to vacant seats. I would also welcome senate oversight in fulfilling future vacancies.”