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SGA debates GPA and Unity bill

Leanna Hovarth

Unity Senator Natasha Kelch and Senator at-Large Kori McElroy debate a bill pertaining to a $200 donation from the Student Government Association (SGA) to Unity and higher GPA requirements for the SGA President Tuesday Nigh

Kirsten Edmunds

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Student Government Association (SGA) Senator-at-Large Sean Howard proposed and wrote a bill, Amendment 2016-2017.001 to make a change in the SGA constitutional stating that the president and vice president must attain a 3.0 GPA rather than before, a 2.75 GPA.

“Essentially, what I was looking to accomplish with this amendment was to ensure that our future top executive leaders are right for the job,” Howard said. “I don’t know too much about being a president but I assume that it requires a lot of prioritizing. With that said, if you are not prioritizing yourself properly enough, then what would make me think you could do it for the student body? I am also aware that the bill states; grades do not define you as a leader per say, but I feel like being the leader of the most powerful organization on campus is not something that should come easy.”

Unity SGA representative Natasha Kelch respectively denied the amendment and said the current GPA is fine as is.

“I am going to have to respectfully go against this bill,” Kelch said. “For a couple reasons, one of them is that our other governing body IHC (Inter-Hall Council) has a GPA of 2.5. Good academic standing is 2.0, and we are already above that, so raising it even more, I don’t see the point. Also some people have very difficult majors that no matter how hard you try you might not end up getting an A. A 2.75 is not like a D average.”

Regarding Kelch’s response, Senator at-Large Kori McElroy said that there are current scholarships for those positions that have a scholarship requirement of 3.4 already.

President of SGA Dovile Svirupskaite said being the current president she thinks the GPA at 3.0 would be a good change.

“I personally believe that being in my role, a really big part is to represent the University in the best way that you can,” Doville said. “That also means reflecting on (Western’s) core values, and one of them is being academic excellence. I think that our student body president needs to have someone who strives very highly in academics, as well as all the other three categories in our core values. So I do encourage a ‘yes vote’ for this because I believe, well, for me, that school always comes first.”

The legislative body did not pass the constitution change by a vote of 14-11-0.

A Bill of Appropriation 2016- 2017.010 was created, on behalf of Kelch asking SGA donate $200 to the Unity Organization on campus for an upcoming event.

“Unity’s budget is now $2400, where we use to have $10000,” Kelch said. “There is no way we can do this event by ourselves. We are contributing the same amount of money in previous years, and also IHC will match what SGA donates. I encourage a strong ‘yes’ vote.”

McElroy questioned the motives behind the bill and asked what Unity is doing for advertising, budgeting, when the event will happen, how many people will be there and why they have not asked SGA about donating before this.

“To address the questions from my colleague, we hold a very large education conference, it’s the largest Midwestern LGBTAQ,” Kelch said. “We find funding from scholarships and other organizations. For advertising, we are going to have flyers and acknowledge our sponsors. Unity is the host and spots $900.”

Howard asked the legislative body to table the bill until next meeting, which did not pass and further discussion happened. The discussion resulted in the bill passing by a vote of 21-2-1.

Senators at-Large McElroy and Maddie Heinzer also gave a presentation regarding a survey they conducted at the Student Activities Fair on Jan. 25. They said they asked about 100 students why they chose Western, what could improve at Western and asked for suggestions about the University.

“Well I know last semester there were not a ton of bills written,” McElroy said. “So that’s really been our goal this semester, as it should be, being that we’re the people who make change happen here at the University and help it get better. It’s important that we are doing our job, it’s important that we are making sure the students voices are getting heard, because that’s what we promised them. So we decided to ask everyone what they wanted.”

SGA later made appointments for Maddie Heinzer to the council on Admissions, Graduation and Academic Standards and to the council for Instructional Technology, Samuel Wheelhouse for the position of member to IT Governance Group and Nicole Viveros for the position of Director for Student Services.

The next SGA meeting will be held on Feb. 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Capital Room of the University Union.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
SGA debates GPA and Unity bill