SGA votes for new name, other modifications to organization

The Student Government Association will be known as Student Government, or SG, next semester. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

Last week, Student Government Association Executive President Olaniyi Solebo urged members of the SGA general body not to fear change. This week, he began to enact it.

Five bills modifying the organization’s constitution were passed during Wednesday Sept. 8’s meeting, proposed jointly by members of the executive board and presented to the general body by Solebo.

The bills changed the name of SGA and its executive board, amended the presidential veto, formalized an unofficial senatorial position and added a new form of legislation to the current offerings of bill and resolution.

This upcoming January, SGA will be shortened to Student Government, or SG. Solebo credits a summer of examining other universities’ student government models for the new name. The bill was passed by a majority vote.

“In June, (Executive Vice President Corey Dwyer) and I started the arduous task of looking at other SGAs around the state,” junior political science major Solebo said. “They are a body like this — a Senate, an SFB (Student Finance Board) and a CUB (College Union Board), all under one banner. That’s why they’re called an association. … In all fairness, we’re not an association. We’re only one group.”

Solebo said the bill was drafted in order to “(let) people know that we don’t think that the name represents what we are now.”

Though the roll-call vote produced two dissentions, no members spoke out against the bill.

Also receiving a name change is the SGA’s executive board. It will now be called its cabinet. The bill was passed by a majority vote, adopted and went into effect immediately.

“(Executive) board does not fit the description of what our executive board does now,” Solebo said, mentioning that the new name will see the SGA structured more like a “real” government.

The remaining bills sanctioned a trio of changes to the organization itself.

One bill amended the presidential veto, closing a hole in the constitution that allowed the SGA’s executive president to veto a bill that had already been rejected by the general body.

“You can’t veto something that’s failed. If it’s vetoed, it’s dead … You can’t kill something that is dead,” Solebo said.

The bill was passed by a unanimous vote.

Another bill legitimized the position of head senator, renaming it dean of senators and endowing it with responsibilities, including the ability to organize meetings with school deans and delegate tasks to senators. There will be one dean of senators for each academic school at the College, and one for senators-at-large. The dean of each cohort will be elected at this semester’s SGA retreat, tentatively scheduled for early October.

The final bill passed allows the SGA to issue “commendations” in addition to resolutions. Solebo said it cheapens the value of the term to pass, for example, resolutions “to honor Sodexo (one day), and the next day to condemn Rutgers students walking on our campus.”

“Instead of calling those resolutions ‘resolutions,’ we would like to call them ‘commendations.’ It makes sense to us, and we hope it makes sense to you, too,” Solebo said, referring to situations such as last week’s resolution honoring Sodexo officials.

The bill was passed by a unanimous vote.

SGA’s financial sector will also see some changes this year. Vice President of Administration and Finance Anthony Czajkowski, senior accounting and economics double major, said SGA will compile an operating budget for this year.

“A big priority for me and the (Administration and Finance) committee will be fundraising, but we’re also going to work on our operating budget, so everybody knows where the money is going and where it’s coming from,” Czajkowski said.

Emily Brill can be reached at brill3@tcnj.edu.