General assembly report 10/18/23

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The most recent Student Government Association (SGA) assembly on Oct. 18 featured major topics including Ad-Hoc committees, SGA meeting times and the process of sending out statements to the student body.

The ad-hoc committee is heavily involved with bringing commuter lounges to campus. As previously discussed in a past Muhlenberg Weekly article, commuter students have expressed the need for more support on campus. The committee is continuing to work out the nuances of bringing the lounge to campus but has high hopes for the near future. 

The next topic discussed included changing SGA’s weekly meeting times for the future. The existing policy stated that the SGA needed to meet on at least ten Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. per semester. The Standards committee proposed a change to remove the specificity of the times and days for the meetings. This would allow for more flexibility in the future while still ensuring that the chosen meeting time and day would remain consistent for the rest of the semester. The vote was passed.

“I am really excited about the new bylaw that we passed, which will allow for more flexibility when we schedule our General Assembly (GA) time for future years,” shared SGA President Jake Forstein ‘24. “For years, it’s been a standard practice that GA takes place on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and that has worked for most students. However, this time is a direct conflict with many athletic commitments which prevents the majority of the athlete community from being able to serve as representatives. While we don’t have any specific plans to move our meeting time, this adjustment allows us to explore that option at the end of the spring semester if we feel like it is necessary.”

Next came the open dialogue conversations section of the meeting. A question was asked regarding how the board decides when it is deemed appropriate to issue a statement to the student body. It was concluded that if there is a crisis that affects a majority of the student population and there is a safety concern, the board will issue an email. This discussion was brought up in relation to the email that was sent out by SGA concerning the events with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Representatives brought up that some students believe the SGA should issue an email with support resources and nothing further than that.

Forstein noted “As we started the discussion on our crisis response policy, I knew that I wanted to go in with the intention of listening as much as I could and turning the feedback into tangible goals and ideas to work from. I’m really glad there were constituents there to voice their opinions and I think they provided lots of great ideas as well. It’s hard for SGA to always know what the student body thinks, so whenever students come to voice their opinion, it is extremely valued by the GA.”

This conversation then opened the floor to debate on where SGA should be sending out messages, with the debate focusing on whether such messages should be sent out on both email and social media or just email. While some believe that it is good to send a message to both email and social media, others feel uncomfortable by it as the comment section could be filled with hate or unwanted opinions. However, some students brought up the fact that when they emailed the school for support, they received emotionless responses. There was no definite solution to these comments as it was an Open Dialogue Conversation.

“SGA created a good listening environment to have both the representatives and the audience have their voices heard to ensure that the conversation is ongoing,” commented Harry Glicklin ‘26, a student in the audience during the meeting.

“Our Standards Committee, which is open to all and meets Mondays from 7:15-8:15 p.m. in the Student Life Suite, is already working on revisions that are directly based on the conversation we had at last week’s GA,” Forstein said. “If you are a member of the Muhlenberg community and you want to share your thoughts about anything that you think SGA could have an impact on, please join us at any of our General Assembly meetings in the Great Room, every Wednesday at 5:30!”

Additional reporting by Katelyn Snyder ‘25

Matthew '25 is a double major in Biology and French. When he's not in class or writing for the paper, he is usually swimming, skiing, playing volleyball, lifeguarding, or listening to music!

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