Wednesday, October 28, 2020

SA reflects as end of spring semester nears

Standing side by side with Plattsburgh State Student Association Chief Justice Adam Saccardi, PSUC sophomore Tessa Hickey, the next hopeful member of the SA judicial board, was unanimously approved at Monday evening’s Executive Council meeting.

Although she still needs the approval of the SA Senate to be made an associate justice, Hickey said she has been waiting to be a member of the SA since her freshman year “whether that be simply helping out around the office or managing a position.”

Addressing the Council, Hickey, a TV and video production major at PSUC, said her interest in joining the SA’s judicial board was first piqued by her friends, one of whom was Saccardi.

Speaking on her behalf, Saccardi informed the Council of Hickey’s participation in two of the judicial board’s business meetings and said she was not shy about voicing her opinion. When asked by Executive Vice President Sapoon Dutta about her desire to join the SA, Hickey noted she was in student government in high school, and expressed her interest in becoming more involved in the SA.

With the spring semester approaching its end, the Council also reviewed the progress of its financial and judicial board, as well as the SA’s marketing division.

Vice President of Finance Jessica Rappaport began the proceedings, informing the Council that “for the past month and a half we have been working on the budget.”

Rappaport said this process involves reviewing all club budgets and informing club members of any new policies they may be subject to currently or in the fall semester. She also explained the board’s functions, noting their ability to approve any request under $100, as any request surpassing the $100 limit must be approved by the SA Senate.

Rappaport also told the Council about their travel grant meetings, which take place every other week. At these meetings, clubs are invited to stop by and pitch their requests for funds to be delegated to travel expenses and trips. The request then goes to a vote, which is determined by the four voting members – three finance board members and an SA senator. In the case of a tie, Rappaport said she is required to vote against the request.

The SA allots a total of $20,000 per semester for travel grants; however, $2,000 is the maximum amount of money that can be granted to a club.

Following the finance report, Saccardi brought the Council up to speed on the strides the judicial board has made this semester. During the first two months in his position, Saccardi said he and his associates went through the documents governing the board with the mission of reforming a part of the SA he said has been “derelict for the past couple semesters.”

“It has been our goal to make it a functioning organ of the Student Association again,” Saccardi said.

After revising the forms governing their abilities, Saccardi said his judicial board is fully prepared to handle any issue that may arise before the end of the semester. In light of their recent advancements, Saccardi also said the board plans to put together a brochure or pamphlet to inform students about what they can expect if they come before the board and how they can prepare.

Lastly, the Council heard updates from their marketing liaison, Vice President Tyler Hargraves. Though it is still in the beginning stages, Hargraves presented the new Student Association website he has developed. Although Hargraves noted the site is still a work in progress, and “will get fancier,” those wishing to see the site can find it at www.plattsburghsa.org/government.

Despite being a usual bright spot at their weekly meetings, the Council experienced some negative feedback during their review of student outreach.

During her review of her outreach from the past week, Rappaport brought up a post about the SA she saw on Yik Yak, an app that allows people within in a certain distance of each other to post anonymously about any topic they wish.

Rappaport said she noticed comments on the post that were not only full of profanity and arguments, but said things like “the SA doesn’t do anything.”

During his outreach experience, Dutta echoed the same message, saying many of the students he spoke to offered similar criticism. SA President Kevin Clayton also had similar encounters, noting there were “quite a few people who didn’t want to talk to me.”

Email Thomas Marble at thomas.marble@cardinalpointsonline.com

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