SGA’s start features learning curve

| Marcus Clem reporter |

Following spring elections there are a lot of new faces in the Student Government Association as shown at the body’s first meeting of the semester on Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Basic questions like where this Senate will meet and what committee roles each senator will hold are yet to be determined.
Senate members addressed recent changes to the Collegiate Readership Program, an issue that SGA has spent a great deal of time on in the past.
Only three newspaper bins remain active on campus. They are located in Grubbs Hall, the Kelce School of Business and the Kansas Technology Center.
About $21,000 remains in a fund provided by previous student fees to pay for the weekday availability of The Morning Sun, The Joplin Globe and USA Today.
Amoung the three, an average of 87 newspapers had been taken by students every day during last year’s setup, when newspaper bins were located in most campus buildings.
At issue Wednesday night was whether to try to bump that number up by allowing professors access to the newspaper bins, which currently require a student’s I.D. to open.
“By allowing professors to access these papers, we might be able to get the program back into what it’s supposed to do,” said Jordan Schaper, SGA president. “We could see this last for many years, otherwise it might not be here next year.”
Sen. Michael Giffin disagreed.
“I feel that it should be saved for the students,” he said. “If I had to bet, we’d just have a few more professors using it for their personal use.”
Ultimately, the Senate adopted a resolution to allow professor access. It will come up again next week for a final vote.
Senators also finalized SGA’s target size for the 2014-2015 academic year at 40. To reach that goal, the 24 active senators will need to be supplemented by vacancy appointments, which are now open to all colleges and for the at-large seats.
The process will be overseen by Jaci Gilchrist, SGA vice president. Senators will be appointed to a vacancy committee where candidates will be recruited, interviewed and voted in over an estimated five-week schedule.
Sen. Brendan Finley took some time to remind the Senate, in keeping with his position as SGA’s representative to the university’s Tobacco Task Force, that soft implementation of a campus-wide tobacco ban will begin in January.
At that time, all ashtrays will be removed from campus and a campaign will begin to encourage smoking cessation, including free nicotine patches and gum for students.
Enforcement guidelines are not yet finalized, but the hard-implementation for the ban is scheduled to start in July 2015.

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