North Texas Daily

Opinion: impeachment step in right direction

Opinion: impeachment step in right direction

Opinion: impeachment step in right direction
February 13
00:29 2014

For far too long our Student Government Association has lacked dialogue with the student body it’s designed to represent. Our student body should understand that the petition of impeachment was not the first step taken in correcting the internal issues that are hampering SGA.

Attempts to resolve these issues have been made before the senate and in meetings with Brown prior to this point to address the violations that are now being openly presented to students. By addressing these violations I am trying to make the student body understand the significance of these problems in the operations of the SGA.

The first violation is in regard to how the current administration was able to manipulate the SGA budget. This violation is the most important one to bring to the forefront because it involves funding that is supplemented by student fees. As prescribed in Article VI: Rules on Fiscal Matters, Section 2: Operating Budget, Subparagraphs F and G of our SGA by-laws, the budget which is an allotted $240,699 is to be posted with the organizations expenses bi-weekly to the SGA website.

This regulation is designed so that senators and students are able to track how the organization is spending money. Our current executive failed to post the budget to the website after the initial presentation Sept. 11, 2013. For the remainder of the fall session students and their representatives were not shown how expenses under $1,000 dollars were spent. An update of the budget was not presented to the senate or posted to the SGA website until impeachment was brought to the table.

Also, the executive branch which is responsible for posting to the SGA website has failed to adhere to Article I: Rules on the Senate, all of Section 11: Senator Voting Records. Within 5 business days the exec is to post transcripts of the SGA meetings. The benefit of this is to allow students to review how representatives in the SGA are voting on their behalf.

Two years ago when the SGA voted in favor of a new student union, many students were left uninformed of the process and how the costs would be paid. As a result some students were bitter about how the process was handled. The rule is important because it allows students to have an opinion on how SGA utilizes its money.

I am certain that students would have a problem with our organization making a $2,000 purchase of a 56-passenger charter bus. Not because of the purchase in question, but because it was not properly promoted by our executive branch and as a result eventually failed to be filled.

This was the exact situation on Nov. 30, 2013, when in a last-minute attempt the SGA president tried to achieve a promise he made to students about busing to away games. This was passed by the senate, who were also clueless as to how the event would be promoted.

These examples lead to my point on the next violation, Article II: Rules on Legislation, Section 2: Deadlines, Readings, and Referral, Subsection B. This article states that the Speaker/VP is to submit all legislation to the senate at least 24 hours after the midnight Sunday deadline.

The legislation to approve the charter bus was submitted to the student senate the day of the meeting, which was in excess of 24 hours after the deadline. From there the legislation received emergency status that same day where the senate made a decision without talking to the students as representatives should.

In posting this petition I have given the students an opportunity to speak on the matter. The SGA president and VP have yet to submit a response to these violations. I hope that in accomplishing the 1000 signatures required to bring the impeachment to a student election that students will finally receive the response they deserve.

Already there has been a change in how the executive branch is conducting their internal operations, we now have a judicial branch serving in our SGA and minutes and voting records are being posted to the website.

The amendment to the constitution is designed to hold members of our SGA more accountable, so that problems such as these do not reoccur in the future. I would like to add the point system, which is mentioned in the constitution, has already been passed by the 2013 summer senate to be included in our by-laws.

When the executive takes the time to update the Constitution and by-laws with amendments that have been made over the past fall and summer session, then senators and students alike can have a better understanding of the rules and regulations of our SGA. As the newly appointed Speaker Pro Temp, I am determined to serve the student senate in a way that holds members accountable and assist them in accomplishing their agenda.

Shamaal Fletcher is an international studies junior. He can be reached at 

Feature photo: Student affairs chair and international studies junior Shamaal Fletchler listens to questions raised by fellow SGA members at a SGA meeting in Wooten 122 on Jan. 22. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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