USG swears in new senators amid censure

Written By Amanda Andrews, USG Beat Writer

The United Student Government (USG) legislative meeting was in session on Monday for an unusually long duration, lasting around two and a half hours. Many items of timely importance were part of the legislative body agenda, including the induction of the newly elected senators, the USG internal budget, debate over clubs’ statuses and most notably four motions, two approved, to censure the USG president.

Nine new senators of varying classes were officially sworn in at the meeting. Freshman senator Matthew Johnson detailed the election process that he went through to be chosen for this position.

“As a freshman, we didn’t really have a full-on election,” Johnson said. “We just implemented our name into the ballot. Then students from our school went online and voted, we were sent a link; and then that link we sent to people and then they followed the link and voted for the student they felt was best suited for the position.” 

The swearing-in of the senators was originally planned to be one of the top items on the agenda list, but a motion from veteran senators placed this at the bottom of the agenda, due to the unusual circumstance of the censure.

The late induction of the new senators did not stop them from participating fully in discussions and even inquiring throughout the entirety of the meeting. Several senators, including Johnson, were very vocal and confident throughout, and in Johnson’s case not without due cause.

“In the past, I served as a state president of the Arkansas FBLA [Future Business Leaders of America] chapter,” Johnson said. “In that position I was the lead representation for 4,000 students; in that I learned what parliamentary procedure was. I’m also a very outgoing person altogether, so being vocal during a formal USG meeting wasn’t really anything I was shy of. I got nervous of course, but everybody does. But I wasn’t really nervous about it.”

Besides the swearing-in of the new senators, USG approved its internal budget; although, at this time they do not know how much money Point Park University has allotted them due to the ongoing calculation of the student activity fee. They do have a general idea of what the parameters of the USG budget will be, which is what the approved internal budget is based upon.

The Black Student Union and students working at the Playhouse sent representatives to the USG meeting to express their concerns with the USG’s handling of the internal budget, specifically that they felt USG had not provided organizations adequate funds as compared to last year. Playhouse box office worker Jeremy Rolon, a junior SAEM major, spoke against the recent move by USG to not continue to subsidize Playhouse tickets for students.

“‘Cabaret’ as of right now has nine sold-out performances, five that are remaining and three of which could be at this moment sold out,” Rolon said. “So we’re already seeing that there’s a lot of interest outside, and there’s not going to be that much of a strain on the USG budget to pay for these shows. Students should also not have to pay an additional amount for classes that require them to see the shows, unless it is already covered in their tuition bill.”

Rolon had claimed that the box office had not received any emails from USG, which USG has claimed to have sent. Rolon also said that attempts to find alternative donors and sponsors to cover costs have not been

The weeks-long debate of Phi Beta Lambda’s status is still up in the air, and the motion to deactivate their organization was tabled at Monday’s meeting for the subsequent week as Parliamentarian Alex Popichak explained.

“We’ve been working with Phi Beta Lambda on hearing about changes to their constitution and [that] went radio-silent this past week,” Popichak said. “In our committee meeting on Friday, the radio silence was all we had heard from this club[…]so the committee felt it was in the best interest to deactivate [it] because there was a lot of questions on what constitution they were using and what name they were using. I learned this morning that they completely had a change in their administration. I have learned that there are a lot of questions.”

A new club, Good Luck Have Fun eSports, received recognition from USG with unanimous support. 

USG has planned a weekend retreat, which will leave on 2 p.m. Friday and return on 5 p.m. Sunday. It has been described as a bonding weekend between newly elected and more experienced senators.