Incorrect Senate docket leads to another appeal against Senate leadership

Kayla Solino, Assistant News Editor

The Student Government Association faces its second appeal of the semester —  less than a week after the first — after not posting the correct meeting docket for the corresponding Aug. 25 SGA Senate session.

Seniors Sarah Shield and Garrett Burnett appealed to the Judicial Board on Aug. 26 to file a complaint against SGA Executive Secretary Josie Schmitt and Speaker of the Senate CJ Pearson.

The appeal said that although a docket was posted to the SGA website for the Aug. 25 Senate session in compliance with the SGA Code of Laws, it was not reflective of the legislation discussed and voted on in the session.

“Although a docket was posted to the SGA website …  this was not representative of what was covered in the meeting. Only one bill is listed on this document. However, at the Senate session, there was the confirmation of the parliamentarian, a resolution, and two bills presented. Clearly, the docket posted to the SGA website was not at all representative of what was to be presented at the Senate session. This posting did not meet the requirements of what the SGA is required to do,” the appeal read.

In an act passed in October 2021, the SGA committed to posting the Senate dockets to the SGA website.

 “The Student Government Association will post the Senate docket onto the Student Government Association Website and other platforms deemed appropriate by the SGA Communications Director and Webmaster, prior to all Senate meetings, providing reasonable notice,” the act read.

Shield and Burnett stated that the full and correct Senate docket was never posted on the website, which they said was a violation of the act.

“There was no possibility to provide reasonable notice to the student body as the correct information was never made public,” Shield and Burnett wrote.

Items passed during the Aug. 20 special Senate session were voted on   again and passed during the Aug. 25 Senate session, after Shield and Burnett filed a separate appeal arguing that the Aug. 20 session was unannounced and unsolicited to the student body.

Chief Justice Caleb Thome sided with Shield and Burnett in an Aug. 25 opinion and ordered the SGA to “nullify all decisions made during the special senate session held on August 20th, 2022, and as a result, reintroduce each item that was held on the docket during that meeting.”

According to the most recent appeal, the SGA did reintroduce the items in the Aug. 25 Senate session for a revote but failed to publicize the correct docket to the public prior to the session.

“The presentation of the old information from this [Aug. 20] session cannot be passed in a new session when it was not included on the docket presented to the general public. The average student cannot be expected to know that these matters were being readdressed thus not giving the student body the adequate notice to voice their opinion on those matters. The burden of information sharing falls on the Student Government Association, not the students, and they failed to meet their requirements for the Senate Session on 8/25,” Shield and Burnett wrote.

SGA Press Secretary Trinity Hunter said that the organization places their trust in Thome and the judicial board to make an appropriate decision on the appeal.

“We support and recognize the responsibility of the Judiciary to rule in their best judgement as it pertains to upholding the Constitution and Code of Laws. The Martin Administration has full trust in Chief Justice Thome and his fellow justices to partake in their roles to the fullest of their ability,” Hunter said.

Shield and Burnett requested that  the Judicial Board nullify any actions passed during the Aug. 25 Senate session that were not on the docket posted to the SGA website prior to the meeting.

The Judicial Board has not decided on the case as of the publication of this article.