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SGA meeting features President Bob Fisher, amendment for new electoral system

Pictured above: The ad-hoc committee headed writing the legislation for the new electoral representation system.

President Bob Fisher congratulated Belmont’s Student Government Association on its efforts for space reallocation, and congress passed a resolution making congress’s representation by colleges in its meeting on Monday.

“I came tonight to acknowledge that this space reallocation process represents, in my experience as president here, the most successful and meaningful collaboration ever between the president’s office and SGA,” Fisher said. “I want to thank you all for it. When we asked all of you to look into it last fall, you gave it a very thorough, complete analysis from your point of view.”

Senior leadership plans to implement exactly as SGA advised in its space reallocation proposal, as announced by administration in the “Ask Bob Fisher” convo on Friday, Fisher said.

After being away from school dealing with the loss of his son, Fisher said coming back reminded him of a song he and his son both loved by Jackson Brown called “Load Out,” which talks about musicians who deal with the burdens of touring but remember why they love being musicians when they step onstage.

“That’s for me, when I walked back on the campus today– seeing all of you and seeing your smiling and kind, sympathetic faces and words– I remember why I came,” he said.

For the majority of the remainder of the meeting, SGA members discussed a constitutional amendment that will change the electoral system by electing members proportionally by college size instead of a general, popular election.

Congresswoman Tally Bevis presented the amendment she and an ad-hoc committee worked on for the past two weeks since former President Jonathan Rankin introduced the idea to congress.

Bevis and the committee checked the numbers, added provisions for a seat for the honors program, a graduate student, as well as introduced an additional amendment to keep the seats vacant for interest in the spring semester if not students fill the seat in the fall of 2016, she said.

A few student government members expressed doubt about the success of the new electoral system and spoke in opposition to the amendment.

“The amendment takes away seats already in my opinion, and I also believe that if there is a vacant seat then it’s just taking more seats away. It’s just giving less people a voice,” said congressman Isaiah Edwards.

But other members spoke on behalf of the amendment, saying the nature of the electoral system makes SGA more relevant and accountable to specific colleges.

“Honestly, it has the stereotype of being a joke all through my four years here. It always has been. I think it would really come down to a more serious perspective,” said congressman Dalton Hughes.

In turn, students would be more passionate about SGA if their issues were more directly represented, he said.

Congresswoman Sarah Potter admitted she was concerned about having a more difficult time getting votes since there would only be three seats available for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

“I respect you all so much, and I will be straight up honest with you. I do think a concern that may be underlying a lot of congress people here would be that there might be trouble in terms of getting re-elected,” she said. “But I think that, nonetheless, we’ve been tasked with the responsibility to try and make this community a better place and to try to create SGA into a better place to serve our student body.”

Although the new process would add more competition for election, the system would hold the body as a whole more accountable, she said.

“I’d rather not get re-elected and have SGA represent me better as a person than to get re-elected and maybe not serve the community in the best way possible,” she said.

The amendment passed and Student Engagement and Leadership Development, senior leadership and the student body will have a chance to give input and make adjustments, said adviser Jessica Dykes.

SGA’s next meeting is April 18. Newly elected President Chris Dickerson and Vice President Macy Dickerson will lead congress at this meeting.

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