By Shawn Gakhal
The Student Government Association covered the debate over MAP grant funding, getting students more politically involved in voting and student organization integration this past Wednesday at the weekly SGA meeting in Spertus Lounge.
President Joseph Knotts began the meeting by deferring to Student Trustee Chris Mich on the latest developments concerning the SGA.
“I had some meetings with President [Middleton] and Jen Fertani from Government Relations to build connections and get some good agenda ideas,” Mich said.
Mich then stated that Fertani would meet with the Executive Board to discuss the trip to Springfield later this spring, lobbying for MAP Grant Funding and also getting students registered to vote for the upcoming primary elections.
There was also talk of establishing a new position within the SGA by means of a co-advisor.
As Mich gave his spiel from the student trustee point of view, Treasurer Svjeltana Grbic discussed the budget with the student senators.
“Last fall, we spent $1,548, and for the spring semester, we have $2,506 to spend,” Grbic said. “I will email each committee their amount for how much they have to spend.”
Grbic urged the respective committees to spend all of the money because it will not roll over to the next semester.
After the budgetary issues were cleared, Knotts took the floor and announced that he had an appointment scheduled with Middleton for Friday, regarding the layoffs that the university issued a few weeks ago.
“I am going to have to probably bring up … the recent layoffs, since we have been hearing so much about them,” Knotts said. “I can’t justify not — at least — communicating something about it.”
Once Knotts concluded with Executive Board decisions, he opened the floor up to the student senate about specific committee chair reports.
The committees of Campus Life, Political Affairs, Academics and Communications all voiced their concerns and made correlative announcements germane to their corresponding chambers.
Shawn Mukherji, the head chair of political affairs, suggested the idea of bringing in a politician to speak to the student body.
Proposed candidates include Christian Mitchell of the 26th District State Representatives in Springfield and Howard L. Brown, a current Roosevelt student who was recently one of 17 awarded the Mittie, Moselynee and Dempsey J. Travis Scholarship.
Mukherji spoke to the Torch following the meeting and elaborated on his committee’s plan to bring a politician.
“What each chair does is have an event for the semester,” Mukherji said. “What I want to do is have a local politician come in and talk to students about the mid-term elections and get students involved politically. That’s what I’m about as head of Political Affairs … I want to bring somebody in to relate to students … and get them registered to vote. Voter turnouts for mid-term elections are abysmal, so it would be a really good thing to do … and it gets people motivated politically.”
Subsequently, Knotts reminded his student senators that committee meetings are, in fact, mandatory, as there has been an issue with attendance in the past.
As the meeting wore on, Knotts notified the members of the upcoming Relay for Life, scheduled for March 28, which is a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.
SGA plans to be involved in the event, as there were initial talks of setting up a table station during the affair.
After the meeting ceased, a few head chairs of the committees stayed to talk to the Executive Board.
The Torch talked with Senator Rachel Pieczura, a representative of Campus Life, who took some time to describe in-depth the goals and the roles that need to be defined within the organization, in order for the SGA to govern successfully.
“Our goals are getting together housing, campus safety [and] bringing organizations together so that we have a more defined school,” Pieczura said. “I believe Roosevelt is loose on a lot of things, such as housing and how organizations go about their business with the administration. I believe it’s time to define roles and really pick and choose what we need for the school and what we don’t. Right now, we need leaders. We need to come together, and SGA needs to govern over the whole [student] body.”