All branches of SG were involved in Monday’s meeting, which featured a guest speaker, tons of legislation and debate.
Monday’s Senate meeting had a special guest speaker, Florida senator Aaron Bean. Senator Bean is a representative from District 4, which includes Nassau and most of Duval county. He was appointed president of Jacksonville University’s Student Government in the 80’s and is currently one of the 40 members of FL Senate.
Senator Bean spoke about making time sacrifices, having patience, and maintaining good working relationships. He gave UNF senators a real-life situation the FL senate had to solve earlier this year regarding funding for “Enterprise Florida,” a program designed to help job growth. His brief visit was a chance for SG members to interact with a professional and motivate them to continue to be representatives for their constituents.
Ground-breaking legislation defining rights of SG members was passed in the meeting. The bill explained the different rights between a member, an Ex-Officio Member, and a non-member in the scope of publicly noticed SG meetings. “I like the bill’s universality and consistency,” said senator Christopher Jordan.
For example, part of the bill explains the role of an ex-officio member within a board or committee. They do not have the full rights of membership, as they are primarily a source of information and are not allowed to vote. Senator Katherine Thames said she believes the legislation will reduce discrepancies and clarify what is expected of everyone.
Chairman of the Budget and Allocations Committee Christopher Jordan announced that SG has allocated roughly half of the fiscal year’s travel request funds, which means they are spending at a faster rate than last year.This may result in fewer travel requests being accepted, or less money being allocated per request. He also explained they have spent roughly 26 percent of the special request index.
The senate approved legislation allowing the 2015/2016 year-end encumbrances to pass. At the start of the new fiscal year, (July 1), all unused funds get swept into the Special Request fund. For example, the Student Union purchased tables that cost $450, but they weren’t delivered until after July 1. The expense for the tables can now be transferred to the current budget in order to be recorded. This legislation is a recurring, annual process that is part of SG’s standard operating procedures.
President Grantham updated the Senate on the progress of the anti-smoking enforcement initiative that was passed on Sept. 26. Grantham said that the UNF General Council informed him that state law prohibits universities from using discipline to enforce anti-smoking rules. Though FL law makes it impossible to impose a fine on smokers or send them to student conduct, Grantham explained that SG can still work to increase signage and continue to inform students about the anti-smoking legislation.
The Senate approved legislation further defining the role of the Student Advocate. The Executive Cabinet Revisions clarify the role of “agency director” and provide extra protection for the position. The action is a “simple shift in the operating structure of the executive branch,” said Attorney General Will Godwin.
“As the role of Student Advocate evolves so should our Constitution and Statutes,” said recently confirmed Senator Thorin Perego.
After giving a short speech and being cross-examined by senate members, UNF psychology major Jaclyn Glosson was confirmed as Assistant Director of Club Alliance. The position oversees club coordinators, works closely with the Club Alliance Director, and serves on the Club Funding Board.
The last item on the agenda was discussion and approval of the Osprey Voice questions that will be asked at the next SG Round-table in early November. The upcoming roundtable will deal with how informed students are about the UNF Counseling Center. The senate discussed the technicalities of each question (format, wording, etc.) before voting on them individually. Ultimately, the information gathered from the surveys will be used to advocate for increased funding for the Counseling Center and hopefully decrease wait times for students seeking mental health services.
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