SGA reviews 11 pieces of legislation at meeting March 28

Vice President Dylan Baker Speaks about a new opening in the executive cabinet, Feb. 7, in the Bovee University Center.

The Student Government Association (SGA) discussed 11 pieces of legislation at its weekly meeting on March 28. All have been tabled until the next meeting. 

A Legislative Bill to Create a SGA orientation video

The legislation calls on SGA to create an orientation video for members joining the House of Representatives or Senate to inform them of their SGA rules, responsibilities and participation requirements. 

An additional video, for those not involved in SGA, would explain the role of SGA on campus, as well as how to get involved with the association. This piece of legislation was authored by Senator Nova Moore due to a general lack of knowledge around the workings of SGA.

“A video can help students answer questions on how to bring their views to SGA, how to make a public comment, and how to get further involved in SGA,” the legislation states.

The bill also calls for the creation of a video entailing how to write and defend legislation.

A Resolution to Integrate Town Halls into the Student Government Association

The legislation proposes SGA host town hall meetings for the public every 30 to 90 days. Meetings would include 15 SGA volunteers, “all of which are from different aspects of the organization to be able to bring diverse views and experiences to the meetings,” the legislation states. 

Moore authored this piece of legislation to create more opportunity for students to get involved with SGA and increase communication between SGA and the student body. 

SGA meetings are currently held from 7 - 9 p.m. and the legislation voiced concern for students who work late hours, have labs that occur in the evening, or feel unsafe to drive or walk home at such a late time. 

Town hall meetings would be documented and made available to CMU students.

The legislation also cites a study done by California State University, which found that students who attend town hall meetings have a higher first year retention rate than those who do not attend. 

A Resolution to Acknowledge Toxic Course Teaching Methods in Universities and Analyze their Impact on Central Michigan University’s Enrollment

Another piece of legislation authored by Moore condemns “Weed Out" (barrier) courses, defined as “a practice by universities to keep unfit students out of specific fields in order to spend less time and resources on said students.”

The piece acknowledges the negative effect of these courses, particularly on women and minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. 

It also cites challenging introductory courses as a possible cause of CMU’s enrollment decline, which has decreased by 11.09% within the last year alone. 

The legislation calls for a university survey to study the disparities in degree confirmation and major changes across fields that traditionally use barrier courses, factoring in race, socio-economic status, ethnicity, LGBTQ identities, disability and gender. 

Survey results would be published publicly to display trends across campus regarding barrier courses. Following the study, SGA and the Academic Senate will review what actions should be taken to create meaningful change in the way that CMU addresses those courses.

A Resolution to Advocate for South Community’s Dining Facility to offer Full Hours of Operations or Creation of a New Meal Plan Option for South Community Residents

Senator Rafael Garza authored legislation which would benefit students experiencing meal hardship in the South Community. 

The legislation references the CMU Housing webpage, which currently states, “Each residence hall is a community within a community with many services and amenities including, residential fitness centers, laundry rooms, internet access, coffee shops and dining units.”

This statement is said to be misleading, because the South Community’s dining facility Social House does not offer services for breakfast Monday through Friday, and is closed on weekends. 

Because it is the only dining hall with those restrictions, SGA calls for one of two actions to take place in Fall of 2022: open South Community’s dining facility Social House for breakfast Monday through Friday and lunch and dinner on weekends or offer a fifth meal plan option available only to South Community residents.

The proposed fifth meal plan option would cost $2,260 and would offer 10 swipes a week, six free guest swipes per semester and $450 in flex dollars.

A Resolution to Call for Compensation for the Implications of the Misleading Statements Previously or Currently on The Institution's Website Regarding Dining Facilities 

In October 2021, CMU Campus Dining announced a cut in hours of operations for South and Towers Community dining facilities.

According to this legislation, until January 2022 the Life on Campus webpage stated, “Flexible hours and meal plans allowing for a great space to hang out and connect... We have meal plans to fit every lifestyle and make dining on campus easy…”

The legislation states that the misleading implications of these statements merits compensation for South and Towers Community residents who have experienced meal hardship. 

Senator Rafael Garza authored this legislation to compensate residents in the South and Towers Community, who are the only CMU students required to travel outside in varying weather conditions to obtain a meal when their dining facility is closed.

Towers Community residents can obtain a meal in their dining facility for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday. South Community residents currently can only obtain a meal in their dining facility Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.Dining facilities in the South and Towers Community are closed on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, only the Towers serves breakfast and lunch. 

The legislation also references a petition that garnered over 3,050 signatures, which called on CMU to reopen the dining halls or refund students for meal plans.

A Resolution for Central Michigan University to Suspend Classes on Election Day

Senator Evan Carlson authored a resolution intended to relieve students of obstacles that prevent them from casting their ballots in person. This legislation encourages CMU to ensure class schedules do not conflict with Election Day in November.

The legislation voiced particular concern for CMU students who are not registered to vote locally and students living in residential halls who may not be eligible to receive an absentee ballot due to an out-of-precinct address. 

“By CMU working with the Student Government Association, and the Academic Senate to provide students with the opportunity to register to vote, learn about ballot issues, voting absentee, or on election day (in their hometown and corresponding precinct), we can empower students to become life-long voters and active citizens,” the legislation states. 

A Resolution to Reform Student Budget Allocation Committee Surplus Funds

Director of Internal Affairs Max Ranger authored this piece of legislation that calls on CMU to permanently utilize a carry forward fund balance for the budgets of SGA and the Student Budget Allocation Committee (SBAC).

The legislation states $75,000 worth of SGA funds are allocated to SBAC to fund projects and programs for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). At the end of the academic year, any remaining funds allocated to SBAC are  absorbed by the university budget.

If the legislation passes, left over funds would roll into the following year’s SBAC budget. If the reallocation to SBAC is not approved, the legislation states surplus SBAC funds shall be allocated to the SGA budget responsible for funding projects and covering SGA related expenditures.

A Resolution to Reallocate the Student Budget Allocation Committee Funding

Another piece of legislation authored by Senator Lauren Hull is intended to remove all restrictions on SBAC funding for RSOs. 

Currently, SBAC funds can only be used for events, conferences and projects. This legislation acknowledges expenses outside of the requirements that are not eligible for SBAC funding.

If the legislation passes, SBAC funding will continue to be approved at the discretion of the SBAC committee and will be distributed on a reimbursement basis. Proper documentation and receipts must be provided in order to receive reimbursement.

Though personal travel to and from events will not be reimbursed, travel in cases where more than one participant was transported in the same car would be reimbursable through SBAC funding, according to the legislation.

A Resolution for the Central Michigan University (CMU) Student Government Association to Formally Recognize Black History Month

Senators Christian Toney, Nolan Henson and Lauren Hull authored this legislation, which encourages SGA to formally recognize February as Black History Month. 

The legislation references a 2021 survey, which found that 11% of undergraduate students and 10% of graduate students at CMU identify as Black Americans. The legislation calls for SGA to spend Black History Month “recommitting itself to promoting and affirming Black scholarship, culture, history and leadership.”

Several students voiced their support for the piece. 

A Resolution to Revitalize the Outdoor Back Patio Area of the Central Eats Food Court in the University Center

This final piece of legislation was authored by Senator Lauren Hull to encourage CMU to revitalize the back patio area of Central Eats and to convert the area into a space for organizations to reserve and host events.

Efforts to revitalize the patio would include power washing and clearing out overgrown plants, adding garden lights, constructing planter boxes and including a temporary ramp structure to increase accessibility to the patio.

The legislation calls for SGA to partner with Student Activities and Involvement, the PLAN office and University Events and Conferences to ensure that the back patio area of Central Eats is reservable for student organizations to host events.

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