The Southern New Hampshire University’s Student Government Association (SGA) held its bi-weekly meeting February 19. They discussed many recent developments and concerns, focusing on the changes surrounding SGA itself.
The most noticeable change that occurred was no-longer voting for an Executive Officer (EO) internal. The position is now determined by an external vote by the student body.
Current EO Ryan Evaul (’19) stated the reason for the change was that the EO used to be an inward-facing secretarial position. However, as the role of EO transferred into an outward-facing manager position, EO Evaul said the position should be treated like all other executive positions in the SGA: it should be voted on externally. This new decision put forth by Evaul passed.
Additionally, releasing more information regarding the different positions on SGA’s Executive Board prior to elections or on the ballet itself to help inform voters was discussed.
SGA also focused on their internal changes by addressing the Robert’s Rules of Order and its purpose during SGA meetings. The purpose of Robert’s Rules, as stated by Evaul, is to execute meetings in an orderly fashion and ensure everyone has a voice and clarity.
Advisor to SGA Colleen Lubin also stated that the emphasis in meetings should be on the spirit of the law, not the letter. She said, “A business meeting is not a class in parliamentary law” and “parliamentary law should be the servant, not the master, of the assembly.”
Lubin explained it is not ideal for someone to interject during a meeting to correct someone’s wording. SGA adheres to its instated policy that helps meetings run smoothly while ensuring everyones voice is heard. It is not used to discourage other members from talking .
A final idea that was suggested for self-improvement was considering changes to how new senators are inducted into SGA and trained on procedure and policy.
SGA President Iesina Tupouniua (’20) discussed her experience at a meeting with the Board of Trustees in Montgomery, Alabama on February 14. The purpose of the meeting was to unveil SNHU’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan that will begin next fall.
President Tupouniua remarked her positive and emotional experience in Montgomery in a post on Instagram:
“I sat in the same courtroom Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks fought for justice. I touched the walls of warehouses where slaves were ‘prepped’ for auctions. I crossed the streets where protesters marched from Selma. I listened to personal stories of families fleeing the South from racial terrorism. I read the suicide letters of black teenage boys on Death Row. I witnessed a panel of three young men from Chicago who have shifted their lives from gun violence. There are no words nor pictures that could depict the heaviness I felt in Montgomery, Alabama. I will add this day to my story and carry it with me forever.”
A copy of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan is in the SGA office.
Guest speakers Jay Tifone, Executive Director of Community Standards and Student Affairs, and Russell Antoine, Associate Director for Community Standards, discussed self-reporting bias, bullying, discrimination, and harassment.
Tifone stated that an online form was launched this fall to allow students to self-report without talking to a Resident Assistant (RA) or the Office of Public Safety.
The form is accessible on mySNHU through varies methods. One easy way to access the form is by accessing the Community Life tab. At the top of the page is a link that reads, “Bias, Bullying, Discrimination, or Harassment.”
All SNHU students should receive an email containing additional information on how to access the form, as well as what will be expected in a report.
SGA also approved four club requests during the meeting.
SGA addressed an additional allocation request from the Game Design Club. The request was for an increase of $775 to be used for an end of year raffle and for club jackets for new members in order to build a sense of community within the club.
A capital expense request from the Student Veterans Association (SVA) asked for funding of $495.14 to buy a guidon staff. The SVA stated that the staff will be used at all meetings and events to symbolize a commitment to the Armed Forces.
A conference request came from DECA to pay for a trip to the International Career Development Conference in Florida to represent SNHU and New Hampshire. The cost was $11,190 with a per-person cost of $1,398.
Lastly, there was a co-sponsorship request from the International Student Association for the funding of $500 and five volunteers to support the International Gala on April 12, an event which acknowledges the culture, history, and diverse community of SNHU.