The Plattsburgh State Student Association’s Executive Council directed their focus toward discussion of state-wide political issues at their Feb. 16 meeting, brainstorming ways to address issues with the recent education proposal while also approving two new policies.
“We want the SA to be more involved in state politics and be able to act on a larger level,” SA President Kevin Clayton said at Monday evening’s meeting.
At Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Feb. 12 talk on the PSUC campus, the governor spoke about his “2015 Opportunity Agenda” budget platform, which would offer loan forgiveness and modified repayment plans for college students. To address any concerns students may have with Cuomo’s plan, Vice President Jessica Rappaport suggested that education students be consulted about their opinions on the plan and a group be formed to better present potential problems.
Student petitions and resolutions were also another tool the Council discussed as a way of getting student opinions heard. Going off of Rappaport’s initial idea, Senator Antwan Clark suggested a petition be circulated to get a broad idea of where the campus community stands.
Though she said she supported Clark’s petition suggestion, Rappaport argued the petition should come second to a student resolution, as an opinion expressed by the student Senate does not hold legislative weight, but is rather a means to encourage potential legislation. Rappaport said she believed following the initial resolution with a student petition would be the best way “to show support for the legislation.”
Clark countered by saying the petition would serve to inform students about the issue before jumping to legislation.
Clayton was also on board with the resolution proposal, and stressed the fact that any student has the right to create a resolution, not just those who are apart of student government.
“I think it’s important that we publicize the fact that any student can write and submit a resolution,” Clayton said, noting that resolution forms are available to students in the SA office on the second floor of the Angell College Center.
Following state-level involvement talks, the Council moved to approve two policies that have been the focus of the past couple meetings. The Student Outreach Policy, which requires SA officials to speak with at least five students a week, get their opinions and feedback about the SA and then report on the results at the weekly meeting, was unanimously approved.
The policy has not passed at previous meetings due to dispute over the consequences officials would face if they fail to comply. This issue was clarified, and all officials are now aware that if they do not meet the requirement for two consecutive weeks, they will be subject to an impeachment hearing.
Executive Vice President Sapoon Dutta stressed to SA members that they should strive to continue outreach even after they have completed the five-student goal.
“Quality over quantity is more important,” Dutta said. “We need to get quality info.”
The Council also unanimously approved Executive By-Law #1, which will create a small committee to revise the SA constitution. The committee will be made up of three voting members — an SA Vice President, SA Senator and member of the judicial branch — and two nonvoting, Senate-approved members: the Chief Justice and a faculty adviser. The group is scheduled to present a draft at the end of the semester, and a final copy in October.
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