The Student Association has recently been working to approve the bylaws suggested by the Constitution Legislation Committee. This week, the executive council took a straw poll to determine how each officer felt about a GPA-requirement bylaw that requires all SA members to hold a certain grade-point average while in office, which was also to be determined by the executive council.
Constitution Legislation Committee members Adam Saccardi and Tyler Hargraves presented several bylaws, one of which was the GPA requirement, earlier in the semester to be passed by the current legislation to be followed by the next group of SA officers.
Two officers opposed and four supported the GPA requirement legislation.
This legislation stems from the recent court case of Ferguson v. Kimmer, in which Vice President of Finance Ryan Ferguson accused SA President Michael Kimmer of an unconstitutional impeachment.
Ferguson, who opposed the GPA requirement, said the requirement would have to be addressed despite the court case, but the issue is still “pressing into people’s minds.”
Ferguson said he is against the legislation because “the student government is an organization that is supposed to represent all students.”
He said a grade-point average does not measure how effectively a person can run a government, but rather, it gauges academics.
“We operate off principles of democracy and I don’t think we should diminish who can serve,” Ferguson said.
The executive council deliberated on the legislation for a majority of this week’s meeting, but have yet to make an official ruling, partially because of the absence of Vice President of Student Affairs Arin Cotel-Altman and President Kimmer from Monday’s meeting. Executive Vice President Isabella Sofia chaired the meeting.
Although Ferguson said he wasn’t sure how differently the deliberation would have gone if the two officers were present for the meeting, he said Cotel-Altman could have helped the executive council to reach an agreement, as she has “fairly expressed opinions.”
He also said Sofia would have been able to voice her opinion on the legislation, as she was discouraged from doing so as the meeting’s chair.
Sofia said their presence could have affected the discussion, as she believes Cotel-Altman would be in favor of the requirement and Kimmer would be “more lenient” toward the grade point average needed.
Although Kimmer cannot vote in the matter, his presence at the meeting would allow Sofia to vote.
Sofia said she is willing to compromise with a 2.0 requirement, but feels it could be even higher.
“I think it should be at least a 2.5,” Sofia said.
During the meeting, Sofia wanted to allow everyone on the executive council to fully express their opinions, as she allowed some officers to exhaust their yields of speaking. Yields are an element of Robert’s Rules of Order composed of three full sentences.
After Monday’s meeting, the executive council reached an unofficial compromise that served both sides. Most officers agreed that a student should be eligible to hold office as long as he or she is not on academic probation. This means the student must have a grade point average of at least 2.0.
Vice President of Clubs and Organizations Taeko Kelly said the compromise is “the best of both worlds.”
Kelly also said she supports a GPA requirement as it serves as a “protective measure” for an individual in an elected position.
She said if a student is close to falling into academic probation, they should not be allowed to take on the extra work that an SA position would entail, possibly lowering his or her grade-point average even further.
Kelly said that Cotel-Altman and Kimmer’s absence from the meeting played a role in the deliberation process, as two people in a small group could influence the direction of the discussion.
“I think the two sides (of the argument) are pretty polar opposite,” Kelly said. “So the only way we can all agree is for each side to give a little and compromise.”
Email Marissa Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org