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SGA reviews elections

SGA held its first meeting of the semester at the University Center on Monday evening. Among topics discussed were suggestions from Dean Russell Mast about student safety, freshman elections, and the voting results from last semester’s election.

Mast greeted the senate and suggested that the senate focus on issues that have be affecting students including the jay walking tickets that were handed out on Aug. 19. He also pointed out issues that students have addressed him with, including the lack of street lights on campus, loitering, and local establishments soliciting on campus. In addition to student safety, Mast added the positive results Pink Berry and Papa John’s have received from students.

“Students love the prices,” Mast said.

In closing, Mast added that the presidential search committee will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Dr. Louis Levy is currently serving as the interim president.

SGA President Graham Davis announced a series of town hall meetings for students who have concerns and questions about any school-related issues. Davis also announced that an informational packet will also be available to students about SGA, its’ bylaws and their policies.

Vice President Derika Powers addressed last year’s controversial SGA elections by announcing that last spring’s election results are posted on the SGA’s website. Powers explained that having the results viewed by the public help people understand how close the votes were and lets the student body know who their senators are.

“The vote numbers were so close, I know whenever the votes do come out, not only was I curious but I know a lot of other people were curious to see the numbers,” Powers said. “Everyone wants to know, so why not go ahead and put them online instead of having a million and one people come into the office and any one can access it any time, not just office hours.”

Powers also addressed in the meeting the five open seats and freshman elections. Freshmen who wish to be a part of SGA must attend two meetings as a guest before being considered for a nomination. Freshman can pick up the application packet at the Dean of Student’s office at the Union. The freshman election will begin on Sept. 7.

There are 10 seats available for the freshmen in the upcoming election. Powers also announced that there are five senate seats open. For other students who wish to be a part of SGA, they must also attend two meetings and create a speech for the senate. Powers explained the one of the empty seats was for an elected graduate student who pulled out due to a conflicting schedule.

“In the spring elections we only sold one graduate seat so the other four were left open and now that graduate student, unfortunately she has class so she can’t be a senator, so now it’s up to 5.” Powers said. “So those five seats, graduate seats left over in the spring roll over to the fall.”

Some confusion over the spring election results has led to disagreement among some students about who should be on the new SGA senate. The VSU chapter of NAACP has contacted SGA and asked for a special election.

Powers maintains that the correct students have been seated on the senate, and SGA has followed its bylaws. She said she had trouble during the summer when it came to creating the list when she and Davis didn’t receive the final list of elected senators. Former vice president Adrian Gibson helped Powers compile the list of elected senators. That list is now disputed by NAACP.

”I was trying to get a list so I could contact my senators and there was no list to be found,” said Powers. “So I emailed (former SGA President) Demario (Jones) and Adrian asking for the list, and Demario’s in Germany so he didn’t have it, and he could put it a together for me again. He (Demario) explained how to do it and I reviewed the constitution by-laws as well to make sure I was doing it correctly. I worked on it for about three hours and got that list approved by Gibson, the previous vice president, Graham Davis, and Dean Mast.”

The senate also discussed the allocations received by student’s activity fees. SGA has a total of $31,014.05 with $11,014.05 rolled over from the Aug. 2010 to May 2011 fiscal year. SGA will have its next meeting on Monday. It is open to the public.

For more information about SGA, please visit http://www.valdosta.edu/studentaffairs/sga/.

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