New faces, new plans
Senators prepare trip to state capitol in Feb. to lobby on university behalf
Marcus Clem | Copy Editor
Ethan Scott and Alyssa Marsh got their share of on-the-job training last week.
Scott, the new treasurer of Student Government Association (SGA), along with Alyssa Marsh, the new community affairs director, were appointed before winter break.
At SGA’s first meeting of the Spring 2013 semester on Jan. 16, a wide range of issues built up during the month-long recess waited for SGA’s consideration.
SGA decided to interrupt the meeting after Larry Overman, junior in construction safety, spoke during student opinion time.
Overman accused SGA members of sponsoring drug use and underage drinking at a private party before break. He declined to identify specific persons and the location or time where these “illegal activities” allegedly occurred. Overman says that he learned of the party from a neighbor and that the police have not been contacted. No charges have been filed.
“Obviously, he was operating on second-hand information,” said Steve Erwin, SGA adviser and university associate vice president of student life. “I wish he had been more clear. I think (SGA) took appropriate consideration of the matter.”
Sydney Ward, SGA vice president, denied that any members of the Senate engaged in illegal or unethical conduct. After a closed-doors executive session, senators determined that no further action would be necessary, Ward says.
In the semester ahead, SGA will host Big Event for the 11th year. Elle Walker will continue to oversee this as SGA Big Event director.
Christian Cruz, legislative affairs director, will lead a group of senators to Lawrence and Topeka on Feb. 10. This event, known as Higher Education Day, will seek to encourage the State Assembly to maintain support for higher education. SGA will also promote other talking points, including an endorsement for the maintenance of a concealed weapons ban on campus.
During discussion of the talking points, with some jest, Lara Ismert, SGA president, requested that Sen. Edwin Stremel, president of Gorillas for Concealed Carry ,refrain from independently promoting his cause if he plans to represent SGA during Higher Education Day.
“We can hopefully come to some sort of agreement on that later,” she said. “I’m sure that Ed is passionate enough to go and lobby on his own on another day.”
During announcements, graduate Sen. Kafui Alomenu discussed the ongoing plans of the university tobacco task-force, a group composed of students, faculty and administrators who have been organized to weigh the issue of banning tobacco use on campus. He says that the task force will have a report for university President Steve Scott by the end of the semester and he invited senators to participate in the talks as much as possible.
“I absolutely would appreciate an impartial opinion in our report,” Alomenu said. “If you are a smoker then you should take the opportunity.”
Perhaps the most important event for each individual senator will be upcoming elections for president and vice president. Respective incumbents Lara Ismert and Sydney Ward will graduate in May. Ismert, Ward, Stremel, Sen. Austin Osborn, Alomenu and Jeanine Kunshek, SGA public relations director, will serve on SGA’s elections board after confirmation.
The board will schedule polling and monitor campaigns to ensure that candidates seek their political fortunes on their own time with their own resources, Ward says.