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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Student Government

SGA guides senate with ethics code

UH’s Student Government Association passed a code of ethics in their last meeting that will allow for several new options when taking disciplinary action against an SGA member.

“Basically the reason behind this (is that) things happened and we don’t feel comfortable impeaching someone, but that’s the only thing (we are currently able to do),” said Honor’s College Senator Maggie McCartney, who coauthored the bill.

“The code of ethics kind of sets up exactly what isn’t appropriate and then what we need to do about it.”

One of the senators had been behaving in a disrespectful manner, but not in such a way that required impeachment. This, along with other incidences, was what created a need for the bill, said Lucia Ayola-Guerra, a CLASS senator who also coauthored the bill.

“Sometimes when it comes to student issues, people can get very heated,” Ayola-Guerra said. “People can get very passionate, and sometimes people can get off track.”

The new code of ethics allows for lighter disciplinary action to be taken where impeachment might not be appropriate or necessary, said Ayola-Guerra.

This discipline comes in the form of an official reprimand, which will stay on record, removal “from any committee, agency, task force, chairmanship or vice chairmanship position(s) etc. by their respective authority,” or removal “from any University committee(s) positions by their respective authority” according to article five of the bill.

The bill also specifies what is expected of SGA members; that they represent the interests of their constituents rather than those of the various special interest groups and political parties that they support, Ayola-Guerra said.

SGA members are required by the code of ethics to conduct themselves in a professional demeanor and represent the University and student government “in a dignified manner,” according to article four of the bill.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I don’t know entirely what’s happened in the past,” Ayola-Guerra said. “But I know that from now on what I want is for certain standards to be upheld.

“At the end of the day I want future SGA members to know that once they come in, no matter who they stood with, no matter if the SGA president is not who you were supporting, they need to make SGA the best it can be to empower the students. Because without a functional SGA, one that’s run without politics (the senators won’t be looking out for the students).”


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