Conflict at SGA session as new legislation introduced

Conflict at SGA session as new legislation introduced

Conflict at SGA session as new legislation introduced
November 14
08:58 2013

Joshua Knopp / Senior Staff Writer

Things got testy at the Student Government Association session last night as a College of Arts and Sciences senator took the executive board to task for poor communication.

International studies junior Shamaal Fletcher introduced two referendums that would limit the executive board’s power. One would require a student to have served on the executive board, the senate or the judicial branch before running for student body president. The other would limit the amount the student body president could spend without a vote.

Fletcher ran against political science junior and current president Zachary Brown and sociology senior Precious Femi-Ogunyemi for president last spring and lost.

Fletcher introduced the first referendum and immediately began expressing his frustration with individual members of the executive board. The senate called an executive session and closed its doors to non-SGA members for the duration of the debate.

“My reason for being direct is so that members can take accountability,” Fletcher said. “That’s what creates great leaders. When people accept their mistakes, they are more likely to correct them. I didn’t want to be indirect and cause confusion. My focus was making sure members could understand the root of my frustration, and essentially why senators have a difficult time addressing and resolving issues.”

Vice president and communication studies sophomore Anthony Brown said Fletcher was speaking about internal affairs, and the details of his complaints did not need to leave SGA.

“All it was, was a statement of passion that was best shared within the organization,” he said. “I think what matters to the students is the vote, not what was said in getting to the vote.”

Fletcher said that while Zachary Brown met the requirements, having served as a senator, the bill would serve to quell future problems.

“My legislation was to prevent further issue,” he said. “I have no doubt the referendum will be passed at the next SGA meeting.”

Fletcher also expressed frustration that many members of the executive board were friends of Brown’s.

The second referendum would have limited the amount of money the president could spend without approval.

Currently, the SGA president can make expenditures of up to $1,000 without any input.

In Fletcher’s referendum, the Student Senate Fiscal Committee would need to approve any expenditure of more than $125 and the senate would need to approve any expenditure exceeding $250.

Business undeclared junior Adam Hasley said that making this change would require changing the SGA constitution. The legislation was postponed indefinitely.

“I feel I’m not sure how budget is being spent,” Fletcher said. “There’re not very many things that go above $1,000.”

SGA also approved $1,500 to charter a 56-seat bus to the UNT football game against the University of Tulsa Nov. 30 in Oklahoma.

At the beginning of the session, assistant vice president for student affairs Teresa McKinney spoke to the senate about helping UNT get reaccredited.

Accreditation lasts 10 years and it is time for UNT to reaffirm its status. If the school does not get reaccredited, it will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid.

“While it’s a voluntary process, it really isn’t because if we don’t participate we won’t have any students,” she said.

Though the university does not expect to lose accreditation, McKinney asked senators to fill out a 100-word survey on how UNT can improve its student experience. McKinney said regular students could fill this out as well at www.unt.edu/qep-survey.

Despite the senate largely disagreeing with Fletcher’s method of expressing his frustrations, Hasley said that Fletcher’s heart was in the right place.

Feature photo: International studies junior Shamaal Fletcher speaks at the SGA meeting last night. After a brief heated debate, an executive session was called and all non-SGA members were asked to leave the room. Photo by Aidan Barrett / Senior Staff Photographer 

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