SGA multiple-leadership policy enters final stages

Student Government Association approved a multiple student leadership policy that will expand the number of leadership positions a student can hold. The policy has entered its final editing stages.

Previously, students could only hold a leadership position in one student organization. But with the passing of the new policy, students will have the chance to hold multiple positions.

“Now that the policy’s becoming more well-known, I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that they’re able to lead because of this when it’s implemented,” said Jade Cooper, a freshman representative on the Policy Review Committee and author of the legislation.

“No one currently has been able to use it to their advantage, but in the future they will. So, I think that’s what people are excited about,” she said.

The only exception to the leadership positions will apply to both Towering Tradition leaders and residential assistants. Both types of leaders are expected to have conversations with administration before holding any additional positions.

“Residence Life staff will be able to converse with students on a more case-by-case basis,” said Cooper. “That’s basically what the big victory is. Instead of them having to say ‘No you can’t do that and be an RA,’ it gives them the option to say yes.”

The new policy will open up conversation and flexibility of the Residence Life staff to use discretion with each individual RA’s situation, said Anthony Donovan, director of Residence Life.

“The way the policy was written before, I don’t think we had any latitude. If we said no to one RA, we had to say no to all RAs,” said Donovan.

Because the RA position is a paid employment position and requires more time, it’s handled differently than unpaid student leadership positions, said Donovan.

“I want to make sure that we’re being responsible for the students that the RA has an obligation to and that they’re meeting those commitments to not only to their residents, but to their supervisor as well as other co-workers,” said Donovan.

Cooper agreed that a RA’s responsibility to residents was the top priority.

“I totally understand where the Residence Life staff is coming from. They just want to make sure that the resident’s experience, especially for freshman, is a good one,” said Cooper. “And I know how formative that is in a freshman’s life. It’s been extremely important in my life having great RAs in my building.”

Junior Tatum Tummins has first-hand experience with holding multiple-leadership positions, as he is a Phi Kappa Tau chapter president, Belmont Ambassador, Bruin Recruiter, M.O.B. Council member and LEAD Committee member.

Due to the previous leadership policy,Tummins had to resign as RA when he became Phi Kappa Tau chapter president last fall.

“At first I was upset that I wouldn’t be able to do both,” said Tummins. “In hindsight, after I became chapter president, I realized there are certain positions– including what I was trying to do as chapter president and RA– that really shouldn’t coincide.”

Although Donovan said he doesn’t want the RA position to conflict with others that require a heavy time commitment, he said the policy would be a positive one overall.

“It brings some clarity that probably was needed,” said Donovan. “It addresses where some of these leadership positions that programs were involved in have changed too, and the expectations for those roles have changed.”

Donovan was pleased with the student-driven nature of the policy. And the renovation of the old policy offered good conversation between students and administration, Cooper said.

“I really appreciate Anthony Donovan and Amy Coles and their willingness to speak with us for what’s best for the students,” said Cooper.

Cooper hopes that the final edits of the multiple-leadership policy will be completed by March.

This article was written by Brooklyn Penn.

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