Student Government Association turned its gaze internally Monday night to examine issues related to ethics and procedures raised during the controversy surrounding the impeachment of President Jeanette Morelan.
Congress passed a bylaw dealing with ethical violations but did not pass the actual code of ethics amendment due to time restraints on the meeting.
Sophomore Christina Ashworth, who authored both the ethical code amendment and bylaw, said SGA was confronted with two options to deal with the controversy.
Congress decided to handle the issue internally by creating the code of ethics.
“The other option was to have it handled externally, which we felt wasn’t conducive to the mission of SGA,” Ashworth said.
She said the effort to clarify and codify SGA’s procedures comes after the recent wave of controversy surrounding congress over the last several weeks.
This includes allegations of abuses of power by the executive branch and the Judicial Review Board’s mishandling of the impeachment process. There were also allegations that Vice President Skyler Schmanski influenced the impeachment process.
“It wasn’t a specific event. It was because these events were popping up, such as the allegations; it just raised the issue that we don’t have a way to handle these sorts of situations,” Ashworth said.
Director of Policy Review Justin Smith echoed her sentiments.
“I would say that there is a connection there, but this is a need that we have,” he said. “That need will help us do what our own stated mission and purpose is, which is to serve the students and act as the voice of the student body and to accurately represent what they care about. That is the primary motivation.”
Several other pieces of legislation discussed dealt with the controversy and were also tabled due to time restraints.
Those included a bill clarifying the Judicial Review Board process, an amendment which would make the impeachment process clearer, an ethical requirement for SGA members and an amendment dealing with executive authorship of legislation.
Morelan said it was a positive step for congress to take to clean up its reputation with the legislation.
“I think it’s a great thing to originate out of congress and a great way to respond to some of the controversy that’s been going on the past few weeks,” she said.
The tabled bills will be discussed at the next SGA meeting on March 16.
Will Hadden and Brooklyn Penn contributed to this report.
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