SGA recap 11/1/23

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It should be noted that the author of this piece, Matthew Klinger ’24, is a representative for the Student Government Association.

Muhlenberg’s Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly General Assembly meeting on Nov. 1 in a meeting that was heavily focused on bylaw changes. The meeting started off with committee reports. The Finance Committee shared that it was working with media services to get a Nintendo Switch installed in the Red Doors, which they purchased as part of their Red Doors revamp at the end of the spring semester last year. The Campus Engagement Committee also addressed the General Assembly, thanking everyone for a successful Udder Bar Challenge event. The committee also reminded representatives that there will be a second round of club approvals at the meeting on Nov. 9, with five clubs currently slated to present. Following the campus engagement report, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) Committee reported that they will be holding a Diversity Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 5 to support affinity groups on campus. Representatives were also reminded of the upcoming Tens Across the Board event and encouraged to sign up for tabling to publicize it. The last committee report came from Ad-Hoc committees, where it was announced that a new Ad-Hoc committee would be voted on in the coming weeks to establish a task force responsible for planning a campus-wide health day in the spring. 

SGA President Jake Forestein ‘24, addressed the General Assembly following the committee reports. He focused on the upcoming special elections and asked that representatives table to encourage members of the student body to run. The special election will be held on Nov. 16. 

The General Assembly meeting then transitioned to a series of bylaw votes. The bylaw vote was on a proposal to increase the number of hours that representatives must table or work an event. Prior to the proposal, representatives were required to either table for the event or be present for the event. However, the system resulted in many tabling slots going unfilled. The new proposal would help fix that issue. After some discussion, the vote passed. 

Following that vote, the General Assembly voted on a proposal that would clarify when committees are supposed to meet. The proposal would add a requirement that all committees meet weekly while classes are in session. Furthermore, it would put the onus of a cancellation on the head of the committee by charging them with an absence should a meeting be canceled. The vote passed. 

The last bylaw vote sought to reform SGA’s crisis response protocol. Following the open discussion at General Assembly a couple of weeks ago, it was decided that all such statements should primarily be focused on supporting the student body and providing them with the necessary resources to cope with the crisis. This bylaw proposal would codify that decision and provide guidance to future administrations on how to navigate crisis situations. The proposal also stressed that the statement should be politically neutral whenever possible to avoid alienating members of the student body. After some discussion and additional questions, the vote passed.

Forestein commented on the new bylaw, stating that “I think the new bylaw that we passed is really great just in terms of framing for future E-boards and SGAs. One thing to know is that it does not change how we actually operate, it just changes how we think about our crisis response and how we look into what we’re going to say. The biggest change that we added is that we specify that we should be focusing on supporting students and remaining apolitical whenever possible, which I think goes back to the point of what SGA is. We’re meant to support students; we’re not here to comment on global politics or tell other people how they should feel about things going on around the world. We’re just here to connect them with resources that might be able to help them figure that out for themselves and feel supported in their times of need.”

The meeting ended with a presentation by John Lukan from Muhlenberg Activities Council (MAC) to pitch an event for next semester. During orientation, a group of alumni who perform drag reached out to see if Muhlenberg would be interested in hiring them for a performance. Because of the cost associated with the event, MAC would be looking to partner with SGA to put on the event. While the event is still tentative, now that MAC has met with SGA, planning will move forward to possibly  hold the event during the spring semester.

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