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SGA suspension violates rules: Questionable quorum quandary leads to review

Speaker+of+the+Senate+Patrick+Quinlan+entertains+a+motion+to+suspend+the+rules+at+last+Tuesday%E2%80%99s+Student+Government+Association+meeting.
Speaker of the Senate Patrick Quinlan entertains a motion to suspend the rules at last Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting.

Speaker of the Senate Patrick Quinlan entertains a motion to suspend the rules at last Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting.

File Photo

File Photo

Speaker of the Senate Patrick Quinlan entertains a motion to suspend the rules at last Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting.

Nicholas Ebelhack, Editor-in-chief

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The Student Government Association (SGA) is reviewing its decision to suspend its rules in order to pass its 2017-2018 bylaws and approve President Grant Reed’s cabinet.

 Without the necessary 18 sitting senators to make quorum, a motion entertained by Speaker of the Senate Patrick Quinlan to suspend the rules was passed by a vote of 11-5-0. During discussion, Interfraternity Council Senator Mark Lahtinen urged a no vote while Unity Senator Natsha Kelch advised that being short two senators from quorum “will not hurt us too much,” according to last meeting’s minutes.

 Missing senators from last weeks meeting included all of the residence hall representatives, who at the time had not been appointed, as well as two senator at-large positions.

 Additionally, as of last weeks meeting, only four senators had turned in a notice of appointment to Senate Clerk Maddie Heinzer, therefore, only four senators can officially be recognized.

According to the Western Illinois University Student Government Assocaition Senatre Rules 2016-2017, the most recent rules available on Purple Post 2.0, Senate Rule #2 – Quorum, “Quorum for meetings shall be determined as two-thirds (2/3) of total Senate membership. Once an organization or residence hall has lost a seat, that seat shall no longer count towards quorum. Quorum is a dynamic institution, it may change as the meeting progresses and individuals exit and re-enter the room.”

 Without quorum, SGA is unable to pass legislation or approve this year’s bylaws. However, the question of whether or not SGA has the ability vote on whether or not the rules can be suspended is up for debate.

The Speaker of the Senate may suspend these rules, under extreme circumstance of timeliness, in which case a motion to suspend any or all of these rules shall be entertained from the floor and require a majority vote of quorum.”

According to this rule, SGA is unable to suspend the rules in order to override quorum, because quorum is a prerequisite for the process of suspending the rules.

According to email communication from SGA Adviser Michelle Janisz on Sept. 7, the issue will be addressed at the upcoming SGA meeting.

“Honestly, we are looking into this matter and will address one way or another at the meeting next Tuesday.”

Speaker of the Senate Patrick Quinlan declined to comment on the matter. The next SGA meeting will be held tomorrow in the University Union Capitol Room at 7 p.m.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
SGA suspension violates rules: Questionable quorum quandary leads to review