SGA Passes Motion for Student Union to Replace General Assembly
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 18:09
SGA) when it was announced that the General Assembly would be replaced by the Student Union (SU), following an 80-2 vote at this past Monday’s session. The General Assembly was one of the SGA’s legislative bodies, the other being the Senate, and was composed of all Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs), Club Sports, Class Councils, Residence Hall Councils, and the Inter-House Council. The Student Union will be a revamped legislative body, better suited to serve the Holy Cross community, and especially the RSOs.
The General Assembly was a monthly meeting of all the RSOs. At these meetings, all RSOs were required to send their delegate to attend a mostly informational session with few deliberative actions being made. Jake Bass, ’14, the speaker of the SGA’s senate, claims, “The General Assembly basically turned into a monthly lecture.”
The new setup, the Student Union, will work off the criticism the General Assembly received by creating a fully deliberative body, without the lecture-type meeting that irked so many in the General Assembly. Other new features of the forum will include the power to petition the Senate to act on certain issues, pass its own resolutions on campus issues, and ask the Reserve Board to provide funds for a Student Union sponsored event.
This change was one of the major campaign promises of Natasha Giftos, ’14, and Neema Hakim, ’14, the SGA Co-Presidents, who promised to do away with the outdated structure of the General Assembly last spring.
“We think that it is extremely important to change the General Assembly into the type of atmosphere that promotes dialogue between student organizations in a way that truly addresses the interests and needs of each group,” said the two SGA co-presidents.
However, something will remain with the RSO-composed legislature. The components that will stay the same include the tasks of ratifying ammendments to the SGA's constiution, some things will remain with the RSO-composed legislature. The components that will stay the same include the tasks of ratifying amendments to the SGA’s constitution, approving or denying new RSOs, and approving the SGA’s budget every spring.
Other than the duties, the attendance policy is also changing with this shift from General Assembly to Student Union. Previously, every member of the General Assembly had to send its delegate to the mandatory General Assembly meetings. Now, only members of the Student Union who receive funding from SGA, fixed budget organizations, are required to attend. Still, those fixed budget organizations will be allowed to miss one meeting without penalty. However, there is a significant bonus for the groups, fixed budget or not, who attend every Student Union meeting—their RSO re-recognition will be waived for the next year. This will save both the individual members as well as the SGA valuable resources if a lot of groups have perfect attendance and do not require a re-recognition process.
“The idea behind the new Student Union is that by making SU Meetings only mandatory for fixed budget groups, responsibility is given to those who depend on funds from the Reserve Board. Conversely, those who have no interest in the Reserve Board funds are saved the time and energy of attending monthly hour long meetings, but are always invited to attend when they want to,” commented Natasha and Neema.
Even with the altered attendance policy only requiring the 35 fixed budget RSOs to attend the Student Union, the other RSOs not only benefit from getting their re-recognition waived, but they still have the same voting power as any other group represented in the Student Union if they choose to attend and vote with the rest of the members.
In the coming weeks, the SGA will keep the student body posted as the transition is completed from General Assembly to Student Union.