Thursday, November 26, 2020

Clayton gives State of SA speech

With the gallery full of Plattsburgh State Student Association senators, vice presidents and guests, including PSUC President John Ettling, SA President Kevin Clayton took the podium to deliver the State of the Student Association Address in the Angell College Center Alumni Conference Room on Feb. 23.

Outlining the SA’s upcoming plans and challenges, Clayton began by addressing issues with the SA Constitution and the amendment process he aims to correct. Clayton said he will eliminate some of the hassle that comes with editing the Constitution by using executive by-laws, such as the recently passed Executive By-Law No. 1 — which will create a small committee that will work on amending the SA constitution — to make edits without redoing the constitution.

“I intend to end that cycle,” Clayton said.

SA special elections were also a focus, as the SA has recently had trouble filling available student-held positions.
“One major issue is how we fill Senate and Executive Council positions,” Clayton said.

In regards to the Executive Council, Clayton said he wants to have larger discussions and tackle bigger topics. In an effort to increase attendance at their weekly meetings, more guest speakers have been invited, including the mayor of Plattsburgh. Clayton also addressed issues in the judicial branch of the SA, pointing out their outdated policies and calling for the removal of failing officials.

“Some of the legislation governing how (the judicial branch) operates is over 20 years old,” Clayton said during his speech.

Although he was critical of the SA in some aspects, Clayton had positive news to deliver about the SA’s recently updated Student Outreach Policy, calling outreach “the foundation of everything (the SA) does.” The new policy requires SA officials to speak with at least five students a week about their opinions on SA performance, and then share their findings at their weekly meeting. Failure to do so for two weeks in a row results in an impeachment hearing.

“This policy helps us to find out when we drop the ball and keep promises the SA makes to clubs and organizations,” Clayton said.

The SA has also made it a goal to become more involved in larger, state-level issues.

“Advocacy doesn’t end on campus,” Clayton said. “We are looking for ways to better represent students on the state level.”

Despite the majority of the students in attendance being a part of student government, Clayton stressed the importance of student body attendance at the next State of the Student Association address, saying he wants students to “be in the loop about what (the SA) is doing on their behalf.”

Clayton’s formal address served as a way to not only inform the campus community about the SA’s activities, but also to keep SA members on track to meet their goals.

“It’s a reminder of what we’re working toward,” Clayton said.

According to Clayton, having Ettling and PSUC Vice President for Student Affairs Bryan Hartman in attendance was a good way for the SA to get feedback from the administration.

“It was a good chance for us to lay out everything we’re working on,” Clayton said.

The SA plans to keep up its work on campus, and will continue to hold Executive Council meetings Monday evenings at 10:15 p.m. in the ACC Alumni Conference Room and Senate meetings Wednesday evenings at 10:15 p.m in the Cardinal Lounge.

Email Thomas Marble at thomas.marble@cardinalpointsonline.com

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