SG: Tensions rise over agenda
Tuesday night’s Student Government meeting ended with a vote to override a presidential veto and a change to Senate’s agenda-posting policy.
At the Oct. 1 SG meeting, Sen. Molly Ferguson proposed a new bill for Senate Rules and Procedures that would require the Senate agenda to be posted 24 hours in advance. Currently, the agenda must be posted 48 hours before the meeting. This is supposed to allow students two days to view the agenda on the Senate website.
The bill received enough votes Oct. 1 to pass. At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Senate President Megan Turetsky announced the R&P bill had been vetoed by Student Body President Juan Cubillo.
In the veto, Cubillo made a case for keeping the 48-hour rule. “It’s important that our students have at least 48 hours to see the agenda … attend meetings of interest or relevance to them.” The veto reads, “It is my hope that we are here to serve our students as effectively and effi ciently as possible.”
When the time came for new business at the end of the meeting, Turetsky announced a third reading of the R&P.Sen. Ferguson pointed out that by closing the agenda 24 hours in advance, Senate still has time to set the agenda — implying that Senate still has time to adjust the agenda with the 24-hour rule.
Senator Michael Danis spoke in opposition to the veto, claiming that because the agenda is only sent out to senators, “Students aren’t losing out on anything … they don’t get the agenda anyway.”Sen. Andrew Grillo stated that the R&P was for the legislative branch, not the executive. “It is uncalled for that someone from outside of the legislative branch would try to set our rules.”
It was pointed out by Sen. Sean Kempton that the Senate agenda is posted weekly on the Senate website, and is visible to students.
“The notion that we make our own rules is untrue … we have checks and balances just like our national government,” Kempton said.
Kempton brought up the format of Senate bills to show how it demonstrates the checks and balances of Student Government. “Look at who signs off on bills. Megan Turetsky, Dr. Yovanovich, and oh look — Juan Cubillo.”
Cubillo raised his hand to speak, but was immediately told that non-members of the Legislative branch are not allowed to comment during a second or third reading of a bill.Sen. Ferguson said, “It’s a little strange to me that the president is allowed to veto senate rules,” stating that the Legislative branch has no say in the rules of the Executive. A vote to table the bill until next week did not pass. The vote to override the veto passed with a two-thirds majority. In the announcement segment of the meeting following the vote, Cubillo spoke on the purpose of the veto.
“This veto was not to prove a point … we want to expose students more to Student Government … You guys make your own rules, that is right. This was a chance to connect to your students.”
The meeting ended with an urging by Turetsky: “I would like to strongly, strongly urge you all to be professional.”