Proposed rule sparks debate in meeting
April 4, 2017
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A brief altercation over a new student government contract occurred after a rule not official in the constitution was unveiled.
The rule outlines that members should meet with at least two constituents a week and document the meeting.
“Do you guys not want to meet with your constituents?” United Student Government (USG) Parliamentarian Charles Murria asked the legislative body during the dispute over the rule.
The new form introduced is to be signed by USG members after their training for the new positions members will hold. The rule read, “Each member should meet with 2 constituents per week and document the meetings.”
“You should know who your constituents are, and they should know who you are,” President Pro-Tempore Shaniece Lawrence said in the discussion.
The USG Constitution does not dictate that members need to meet with constituents, but the organization itself pushes for its members to reach out to who they are representing.
Vice President Bobby Bertha, although agreeing, said that since it is not in the constitution explicitly, that it may be troubling for future administrations to figure out how this is a rule.
Recording Secretary Davion Heron, who also heads USG’s student concerns committee, then advised that the rule should be amended into the constitution for it to have a “foundation” in the new contract.
Sen. Daniel Murphy questioned if a censure would occur if a USG member does not meet with two constituents.
Sen. Hayley Hoffman reaffirmed that it will not lead to a censure.
“It is not saying you have to do this, but get to know your constituents,” Hoffman said, reiterating that it is there to verify that USG members know what their responsibilities in the organization are.
The legislation was approved by all senators except Murphy, who abstained.
While addressing the need to reach out to constituents, after weeks of students’ health service-related concerns, Nurse Heather Capo, director of the university’s Health Services, spoke to USG about what her services provide.
Murphy informed Capo about a cold he previously had and the working nurse did not schedule a doctor’s appointment because he was not sick long enough.
“[We are] prioritizing who gets into these appointments,” Capo responded.
The office has up to four appointment spaces available a day with doctors outside of campus. Capo said the appointments are prioritized based off of health concerns.
If a student had a health concern similar to Murphy’s, “we are going to request [for you] to use over-the-counter medications.”
Heron also asked Capo about expanding the nurse’s office hours as it is opened from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the weekdays, plus a night nurse from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends including Thursday.
“I get that, and I hear that concern,” Capo said. “I can tell you during the nights, … students [don’t] come in [often].
According to an end-of-night report, sometimes up to only five students visit the nurse at nighttime during a regular weekend. Sometimes, no students go at all.
Although wanting to expand more, Capo fears that more hours might be a budget concern, and that is out of her jurisdiction to handle.
Dean of Student Life Michael Gieseke recommended that if USG members find a larger student need for hours to be expanded, it could be a good argument to do it.