SGA general assembly rejects speaker resolution for second time

Jessie Hellmann

A resolution that would implement a speaker position in the Student Government Association (SGA) was brought forward to SGA by a member and rejected for the second time this year by a majority of the general assembly.

Travis Dickison, SGA liberal arts representative and author of the speaker resolution, said he created the resolution to make lives easier for SGA executives, but some members say the creation of the position is not a priority when many SGA positions stand empty.

Dickison described the speaker position as a floor leader for the general assembly with executive duties.

The speaker’s job would have handled administrative tasks as well as being a voting member of the general assembly charged with leading debate and bringing issues to the floor properly.

If the resolution had passed, the speaker would preside over the general assembly in a case that the president was impeached or unable to serve. With the current setup, the vice president would preside. 

Dickison said this change made more sense to him for the leader of the general assembly to preside.

“If you look at the U.S. Senate, it’s the vice president that presides, and his first deputy in presiding is an actual member of the senate,” Dickison said.

The speaker would also have appointed members to SGA committees and kept the committee members accountable for their work, prepared general assembly meeting agendas, assist the vice president in training new representatives among other duties. Dickison doesn’t plan to bring up the resolution for at least another year, if at all, he said.

Some members believe the resolution means well, but came at the wrong time.

Samantha Ray, SGA university affairs Administrative Vice President, said SGA experiences problems with representing the student body, and needs to focus on adding members rather than adding positions.

“The resolution is just something that SGA’s not ready for right now,” Ray said. “We actually had a town hall today for the nursing and health professions, which has no positions filled, and they spoke their interest in being represented in SGA.”

About 20 SGA positions are vacant as of March.

She said SGA needs to work more on representing the student body because that’s what students are asking for, not a speaker position.

Dylan Melling, former member of SGA for three years and current member of the SGA court, said now is not the right time to implement the speaker position, especially with the departure of two SGA adviers: Brian Posler and Barry Schonberger.

“It feels to me, as a student who isn’t a voting member of the (General Assembly), looking from the outside in, it looks as if maybe this was not the most stable of times,” Melling said.

He said the position will probably be implemented in the future, but right now, it is not the best idea.

“It seems that when you’re trying to restructure the program, it seems like you’d want a little bit of stability from your top level as you’re figuring out all the kinks,”  Melling said.

He agreed with Ray, and said SGA needs to focus on gaining more representation within the body.