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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Student Government

SGA members concerned about lack of communication

Some Student Government Association Senators displayed their frustration with Senate executive members after not being able to meet quorum during Wednesday’s meeting.

The Senate was one senator away from meeting quorum, and Vice President Prince Wilson was the only executive member who stayed through the meeting. Director of Finance Carlos Reyes, Director of External Affairs Mariam Zakaria, former Director of Public Relations Andi Zambrano (who resigned prior to the meeting due to a conflicting schedule) and Speaker Kyrie Ruiz were not at the meeting.

President Kenneth Fomunung left the meeting almost immediately after giving his report. Interim Speaker Mila Clarke presided over the meeting.

Senators were particularly upset with Ruiz because they said she was not e-mailing legislation to all senators before meetings, answering their e-mails or making herself available during her office hours.

In an e-mail, Ruiz wrote the accusations the senators made during the meeting were “completely false” and that if they had issues with the way she was doing her job, they should have brought them up with her personally and not during a meeting she was not able to attend.

“I will say that yes, sometimes it takes me a couple of days to respond, but I never leave an e-mail unanswered. As for the legislation, I do send it to them. There has not been a time where I have not presented the Senate with the legislation beforehand unless the legislation was written right before the meeting and needed to be passed that night for emergency purposes,” she wrote. “I am in my office, my door is always open when I am there. I’m quite disappointed in the manner in which they went about all of this. It was unprofessional, and if they have an issue it should’ve been brought to me instead of in a meeting which I was unable to attend.”

CLASS Sen. Mary Martin said it is part of Ruiz’s job to send legislation to the senators before the meeting starts so they can make informed decisions and not have to vote on something they haven’t had the chance to inform themselves on.

Some senators suggested passing a bill that would make the Speaker have to send all legislation to senators at least 48 hours before the meetings.

“Do we really have to pass a bill?” Martin said. “This is somebody’s job. This is ridiculous.”

Former at-large senator Michael Blunk said the 45th administration passed a bill that did this.

Business Sen. Stephani Rivera said Ruiz did not respond to her e-mails on three separate occasions. Rivera said she never brought this issue up before because she didn’t know it was happening to other people beside herself.

Meeting schedules and not being informed when there would be a meeting, was another issue that upset the senators. The director of PR and the speaker are supposed to inform the senators of these.

Martin said several of her fellow senators were not aware of a meeting this week.

Rivera said that although the speaker and director of PR should keep the calendar updated and inform senators of meeting times, it is also the senators’ responsibility to be informed.

“Seeing the room today is disappointing,” Rivera said. “Remember why you are here. (We need to) try to become more engaged.”

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