SGA addesses senator absences

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Student Government Association is cracking down on senator tardiness and absences. Vice President of Internal Affairs Scott Hessel and the Committee for Internal Affairs created a new policy to address the issue of absences.

According to Hessel, the policy being proposed would allow for two unexcused absences, three maximum, before a bill of impeachment would be made for that senator. In order to avoid an absence mark, senators must be present at roll call, although the type of absence allocated depends on when a student reaches the meeting.

If a student reaches a meeting before legislation begins but is late to roll call, they will receive a “half-absence.” Students who reach the meeting after legislation begins will be given a full absence.

“To be counted fully here, fully present, be here at roll call,” Hessel said.

Furthermore, the policy dictates rules for senators leaving before adjournment. Students who leave before deliberations end will receive a full absence, while those who leave after deliberations but before adjournment will receive half an absence.

Exceptions are made for SGA events taking place during SGA meeting times. For instance, for events such as the SGA barbecue, students will be given a 15-minute window after the event starts and before it ends to check in or out of the meeting.

Should senators need to be absent from senate meetings, Hessel proposed a policy of “working off” absences.

“The policy is, if you work an extra two hours at our ‘Office Hours’ table, you can work off half an absence,” he said. “Realistically, if you work four hours at the table, you would be able to work off up to that one excused absence.”

The policy’s strictness concerned senators.

“My concern is the full absence, after the legislation begins, gives no incentive to show up if you’re already that late,” Black Student Alliance Senator Alexander Salazar said. Tardy students should be given a one-fourth absence if they arrive just as the legislation begins or a half absence if they arrived during the legislation, he said.

According to Hessel, the committee was trying to create the fairest policy, since missing legislation would be bad for the senator’s constituents. Some senators felt that the legislation should be withdrawn for further review by the committee and the senate.

“I recommend that this is something we vote on, so we can get all of senate’s input,” Salazar said.