SGA Senate recap: 3/2/23

Alex Gravlee, Contributing Writer

The Student Government Association passed four pieces of legislation, voted down another and sent four to committee on Thursday, March 2. 


Resolution commending the work of the University of Alabama Counseling Center — Passed 

The SGA unanimously passed a resolution commending the UA Counseling Center for its various programs and its “diligent, timely, compassionate, and student-centered work,” for the University and its students.  

President Madeline Martin, the author of the resolution, said that while there’s always work to be done for mental health, she wants to commemorate the center’s work.  

“I can’t imagine the resources that we have not being available for students,” Martin said. “I’m very, very happy that it’s open to all students.”  

The resolution praised the center for teaching students how to better understand their mental health and well-being as well as helping them deal with mental illness. Additionally, it mentioned the center’s programs, like Tide Against Suicide, as great sources of prevention education. 

The University’s funding of the Counseling Center has been criticized before, most recently during the Executive Vice President debate when candidate Elizabeth Prophet said that the center is the second-least funded in the SEC. Martin declined to comment on the discussion during the debate as she did not attend.


Electronic Voting Bill — Failed 

The SGA initially failed a bill that would require electronic Senate voting using Microsoft Forms, but it will appear on the Senate floor for a third time after the author claimed Senate rules were broken.  

The committee gave the bill an unfavorable recommendation, saying that electronically recording votes, especially for motions and secondary motions, would be much slower than giving a voice vote. Additionally, the committee said that electronic voting would eliminate the need to show up in person and said the bill would be difficult to implement in such a short time, as the bill would go into effect in April. Tyler Tannehill, the bill’s author, requested that the Committee’s recommendation be nullified and the bill appear before the Senate again after he revealed he was not invited to attend the committee meeting and discuss his bill. 

Tannehill said the bill would allow students to individually track their senators’ votes and would increase transparency in the SGA. 

“Electronic voting is the norm for governance, for democracy, for civil society to react to their elected officials, to hold them accountable for when they fall short, to praise them for when they act productively,” said Tannehill in a statement to the SGA via proxy.  

The bill’s critics mentioned that creating electronic forms for senators would place a large burden on the secretary of the Senate, adding more work on top of their duties, such as curating Senate dockets and sending them to senators.


Bill creating liaison to update SGA of Faculty Senate’s Activities — Passed 

The SGA unanimously passed a bill that would inform the Senate and the First Year Council of the Faculty Senate’s activities and vice versa.  

The bill would require the SGA executive vice president to act as a liaison between the SGA and the Faculty Senate, with the EVP attending Faculty Senate meetings and giving a brief oral report to the respective SGA legislative bodies.  

If the EVP is unable to attend a Faculty Senate meeting, then a member of the Executive Council or the EVP’s cabinet will attend and report in their place.  

The bill came out of the Rules Committee with no recommendation due to a wording issue, which was resolved by an amendment by the time the Senate session started. The amendment specified that the presentation of the SGA and Faculty Senate’s activities be oral.  


Bill establishing a Meet FYC Day — Passed 

The SGA unanimously passed a bill that would implement a “Meet FYC Day” at the beginning of each fall semester.  

The event would require members of the FYC to set up tables outside of their respective dorms and answer any questions or concerns students have, as well as have a QR code that students can scan to voice concerns and propose initiatives.  

According to the bill, the purpose of this event is to increase the visibility of the FYC and inform first-year students that they have a body that represents them on campus.  


Resolution encouraging the University to consider additional squat racks and deadlift platforms at the Rec Center 

The SGA sent a bill encouraging the University to consider adding squat racks and deadlift platforms to the University of Alabama Recreation Center to the Student Affairs Committee. 

The Rec Center currently has three squat racks and two deadlift platforms, and, according to the resolution, wait times can be as long as 30 minutes for “fundamental and versatile strength training” that is critical to overall fitness.  

Tyler Zuspann, the resolution’s author, said he had to get an off-campus gym membership because he “just couldn’t with it anymore.”  

He added that the center is very crowded, especially from 5-8 p.m., so making room for new equipment would lower the wait times.  


Resolution encouraging the University President to inform students about SGA elections 

The SGA sent a resolution encouraging UA President Stuart Bell to send an email to all students with SGA election information to the Student Affairs Committee.  

Tyler Tannehill authored the resolution and had six sponsors, including former EVP candidate Elizabeth Prophet.  

This “Message from the President” would give students information on where and how to vote in SGA elections and include resources where students can find more information.  

The resolution states that less than 28% of students voted in the spring 2022 general election , citing that unawareness or apathy could contribute to the low turnout. It also mentions that the President regularly uses email to disseminate UA Student News to faculty, staff and students.  

In the spring 2023 election, student participation was up 5% from last year, with 33% of students voting in the election.