By: Justin Gostlant
News Staff Writer
The final Parliament meeting of the academic year began an hour and 20 minutes late, as the previous election meeting ran well over its budgeted time. When the elections were completed, SCG members took a recess to reenergize themselves and reconvene at 9:20 p.m.
While approving the agenda, Rep. Jose de Andrade motioned to add six items to the list, all of which failed except two – one concerning the roll-over of unused printing services, and one suggesting that Parliament members receive class credit for their service. The unapproved items concerned matters related to treating student clubs equally, adjusting the Budget Hearings, and the privileges of SCG members.
President Travis Escobar expressed his disapproval of denying de Andrade the chance to put issues on the floor for debate.
“Maybe because we had the long election meeting that’s how you want to end this meeting: quickly so we can get on with ourselves, but I think I disagree with that,” Escobar said.
He finished his announcements by thanking all SCG members for a great year and urged everyone to join again next year.
The other officer announcements moved quickly and expressed similar sentiments about SCG’s year.
They moved on to calling in members from the student organization Active Minds, which seeks to promote understanding and the removal of stigma attached to metal health disorders, who had been waiting since 7:15. There had been a miscommunication between the two organizations, as the meeting was supposed to begin at 8. A sympathetic Parliament then moved quickly to approve the amendments to the Active Minds constitution requested by its members. The amendments will allow graduate students who pay the Student Activity Fee to participate and lend their expertise, and loosened the club’s attendance policy.
Rep. Kevin Martin put forward a resolution to make SCG elected officers ineligible to receive the Beverly McGinnis Scholarship Award. According to Martin, the cash scholarship, which is selected by a committee headed by the SCG president, has gone to officers the last two years and students have become discouraged.
“SCG, Inc. has suffered an inability to reach out to the college community and has been viewed as a clique by outsiders, whereas the goal of SCG is to increase student involvement in Student Parliament and the college community as a whole, therefore it be resolved that the six SCG elected officers… shall be ineligible to receive the [scholarship],” Martin said.
“I don’t think I necessarily oppose the sentiments… especially considering our most recent criticism,” Treasurer Jordan Day said.
In defense, the selection committee added “…I think this accuses the four people who made the decision of bias.” An amendment was added to make all SCG members ineligible as opposed to just its elected officers.
Rep. Brendan Cardona said that the most qualified person should get the award even if that person is also a Parliament member. The debate continued with both sides of the argument having merit. With so much to debate, a motion passed to table the resolution until it could be discussed in more depth, effectively killing it for the session.
The next item was a resolution which would ask the administration to grant Parliament members one half credit per semester of service with a limit of two credits. Parliament members differed on their views on the resolution. Some said they spend as much, or more, time in meetings than classes and deserve a half credit. Supporters of the resolution said it would be an incentive to get students more involved and may enable more people to join. Dissidents believed a member receiving a monthly stipend is too much, which brings up the concern that adding academic credit could be considered double dipping.
There was also the issue that people would begin joining Parliament because it was an “easy class.”
“I just don’t want someone looking through the course catalog, seeing SCG for half a credit,” said Rep. Robert Santurri. “It takes seats away from those who actually want to make a difference.”
The discussion showed no sign of cooling down and a motion was carried to table the resolution to the newly formed Academic Affairs Committee. From there it would then be brought to the administration for consideration; although the motion must be brought up in Parliament again during the next session to be considered as all committees were dissolved at the conclusion of the Sine Die meeting.
The printer carry-over resolution, which would recommend the college allow students to carry over unused pages of printing from one semester to the next, was the next bill on the table. Some members had concerns that excessive carry-over may lead to waste. With a brief debate, the resolution passed.
The meeting came to a close with words of gratitude between members for having a great year and a round of applause for President and Speaker-Elect Escobar, who served in the top job on SCG for two years and said as part of his closing statements: “I’ve always encouraged people to run, even when they’re unsure.”