USG discusses communication reform

Written By Amanda Andrews, USG Beat Writer

The United Student Government (USG) Legislative Body meeting on Monday was dominated by discussion of potential reform to the USG Constitution and the organization’s role of representing the student body.

New senators in particular, including Dennis McDermott, Matthew Johnson and Monae Findley, criticized the organization’s and the USG executive council’s apparent lack of initiative in reaching out to students effectively.

Various ideas on how to improve USG’s outreach to the student body included proposals to electronically post legislative body meeting agendas prior to each weekly meeting, creating and updating a USG bulletin board in the second floor of Lawrence Hall and posting a physical sign more prominently in the Student Center detailing USG’s legislative meeting location and office, among others. Some senators even called for reviewing and revising certain bylaws and procedures in the USG Constitution. 

Senator Findley called the progress USG was making “remarkable,” and was certain that its discussions will lead to a successful semester. Findley had her own proposals for USG to improve communication with the student body.

“I believe, as I suggested before in the meeting, that we should start having some open floors in Lawrence Hall so that students can start coming in, start speaking because of that student traffic that is coming in would be perfect,” Findley said. “Because students will be seeing us sitting out there in the lobby and they’ll be like, ‘Hmm what’s going on’. You know, we can have some music, have some pizza, some food [and] feel welcoming [to] students [who] are more willing to come talk to us about whatever issue they’re having.”

Some senators, like Jacob Berlin, expressed reservations about USG expanding its role and presence in student body.

“It’s important that we take this job seriously because we are elected to do so, but it’s also important to not take it too seriously and remain grounded in reality,” Berlin said. “And we are still one of our peers, we are still students and I think we should level ourselves out and not try to be too ambitious with this capacity that we have.”

Berlin believes that the student body attendance to USG legislative body meetings is a small concern compared to senators’ direct outreach and communication with students. Specifically, he felt students think their concerns will disappear in “an echochamber” since updates and results stemming from student concerns are not clearly publicized as of now.

The senators adjourned the meeting with the intention of continuing discussions related to reform and revision of current USG procedures in next week’s legislative body meeting.

Following last Monday’s meeting, Alex Popichak resigned effective immediately as USG’s Parliamentarian. Popichak served as a senator for USG in his freshman year at Point Park University and was sworn in as Parliamentarian in the spring of 2018.

The Parliamentarian position entails knowing and interpreting the USG Constitution for others, chairing the Rules Committee and dealing with the process of club recognition. A press release was sent to USG senators early last week regarding Popichak’s resignation, listing personal and professional reasons as the cause for his departure.

“I wanted to do […] justice to the position and with things that had developed in my own life over the course of the summer and the beginning part of the semester, it just became a bit too much time-wise,” Popichak said. “And I wanted to give this organization my all but I also knew that wasn’t going to be possible.”

Popichak listed his obligations as an intern to the City Paper and his position as  general manager of the Point Park’s WPPJ radio station, as well as searching for a job post-graduation, as the primary reasons for his resignation.

President Kaylee Kearns proposed a passed motion that extended the search for a new Parliamentarian for another 14 days, which means USG could be without a Parliamentarian for a total of 21 days.

All censure motions against Kearns have officially been voted on as of Monday’s meeting. Although Kearns had been charged with two motions of censure two weeks ago, a third proposed motion of censure had been tabled until this week’s meeting.

The majority of senators voted against the motion of censure, with only four in approval and two abstentions, which prevented the possibility of an automatic impeachment trial against Kearns.