Tensions fly at SGA meeting

By Ashley Berger

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Marsha Gelin/Collegian

Marsha Gelin/Collegian

Tensions flared at the last Student Government Association meeting on Wednesday, with what started as a meeting with the focus on amending by-laws, turned into a debate about the question of impeachment of Senator Bill Cody.

Sponsored by the Committee for Administrative Affairs, the motion to amend parts of Title II of the Constitution brought much questioning, which was mostly done by Speaker of the House Modesto Montero.

A few of the chapters were reworded or reworked in an effort to make them more clear or to further help the student body, explained Nick Barton, chair of the committee who defended and answered most of the questions that were brought up.

One of the sections that was examined by the body was the appropriation of how many constituents each Senate seat shall govern. The by-law was revised in the motion to give each Senate seat a maximum of 500 constituents. Speaker Montero initiated the idea that, while this provision would allot a legitimate maximum amount of constituents, it did not provide a minimum. Modesto argued that this would be a necessary revision to the by-laws as well, because some areas on campus are generally larger than others.

Another key by-law that was included in the motion was to install a 10-minute time limit any given Registered Student Organization (RSO) can talk and petition their case in front of the Senate Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Josh Davidson. Davidson mentioned that in a hypothetical situation, if all 180 clubs came to petition, the Senate would endure three days in a meeting.

Speaker Montero added, “I think that there should be something within the by-laws that would give the Speaker a greater ability to cut people off if they keep talking.”
After the reading and discussion of the proposed amendments, Speaker Montero told Chair Barton that he did a wonderful job on the revisions but had advice to share.

“There are still holes in here that need revision. These directly affect each and every one of you,” said Montero. “Each senator should feel strongly about the changes enough to read over them and think more about them.”

Modesto added, “I will dance. I will give you things. Just please consider tabling the motion.”

The motion was tabled because it needed closer examination.

Following Senator Cody’s police escort out of last week’s meeting, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee motioned to bring impeachment charges against the acclaimed disruptive senator.

Though the by-laws require a 72-hour waiting period after a review from the Rules and Ethics Committee before the charges are brought to the Senate, at the time of the Senate’s meeting; the 72-hour period had not yet passed.

Davidson made the motion because Senator Cody’s behavior had disrupted both Senate body and individualized committee meetings, and motioned to overlook the by-laws in order to ensure the safety and comfort in all meetings for all members.

Davidson said, “It is the Senate’s responsibility to act on this tonight and not let it go another week. This is not the first time that this has happened, and I am personally tired of this bad behavior.”

After the motion was read, Senator Cody retorted from the back of the Cape Cod Lounge that the SGA has an “open meeting policy” which would allow Cody to attend any meeting, just not as a Senator.

Lindsay Vitale, who was personally attacked proceeding last week’s meeting and who feels generally threatened by his presence asked the Senate to “consider the standard that we hold ourselves to when we come to these meetings and then question it when people come intoxicated.”

Davidson was persistent in his attempt to get the motion passed on the Senate floor before Senator Cody angrily yet willingly agreed to not attend any Ways and Means meetings over the course of the next week in order to give the Senators more time to decide on the matter at hand.

Following Cody’s statement, Davidson withdrew the motion until next week.

“The severity of the situation outweighs the laws regarding the situation,” said Davidson after the meeting. “I hope it gets heard next week. This is one of those instances where you have to make hard decisions regardless of personal feelings. I feel that we must hold ourselves to the highest standards as representatives.”

In the spirit of elections, Student Trustee Mike Fox said, “The warlock Charlie Sheen is running for Southwest area governor.”

The SGA will hold presidential and trustee elections next week from March 8 – 10. The next SGA meeting will take place on March 9.

Ashley Berger can be reached at [email protected]