LETTER: The SGA Senate dilemma
Monday night was not a good evening for senators, or for their legislation.
After exiting a general board meeting that lasted just over an hour, senators rushed to their meeting room and readied themselves for the tense debate that was about to come for a controversial piece of legislation that had been postponed from the previous meeting: the “Recognition of the Take Back The Tap” bill.
Since I started my role as senator last fall semester, I knew how hard it was for controversial bills like these to pass in the senate. I knew how critical they could be about any bill that is presented to them. Despite this, I encouraged the two new ambitious senators, Mariah and Alysha, to present this bill to the senate.
But as the bill was finally brought back on the table, a senator made a motion to amend the bill and cut out the last paragraph, which would removed the “potential and gradual campus-wide end to the sale of bottled water” statement. I sighed and realized we were all in for a long and tedious debate.
The senate then began a somewhat heated debate. Senators who objected to the bill made themselves heard, openly questioning the bill’s intentions. Although some of their statements seemed odd. One senator said the signed petitions that TBTT had collected, which was more than 2,000 signatures, was not a good representation of the CMU campus students. Ironically, senators only need 200 signatures for the upcoming election to represent a student body much larger than those who signed their election petitions.
After a long debate, the senate came to the conclusion that this bill would only be passed if the final paragraph was amended from the legislation. As I saw the final vote to amend the bill was in favor of the opposing senators, I couldn’t help but feel a great sense of sorrow. Not only the senators who proposed the bill, but for the future well being of CMU sustainability in general.
The bill represents the efforts of the TBTT group to promote sustainability and to eventually remove the sale of bottled water for campus, but it goes beyond that. It represents a small but important step for CMU and its students to become a more environmentally friendly campus, to show how students can come together and change unsustainable practices, even become the forefront of a sustainable movement by removal bottled water sales from CMU.
But in the end, the SGA senate rejected this step. Although they showed support for the bill’s tone of sustainability, they condemned the bill for its “extreme” view on bottle water removal on campus and threatened to “table the bill indefinitely” unless it was amended.
The SGA has often spoken about how it wishes to promote sustainability, and is currently working on creating a sustainability committee. But if their own senate edits a bill that tries to do just that, then who can students believe?
Let us hope the SGA senate can reconsider this issue in the near future.
White Cloud senior
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