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SGA neglects to post minutes

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • January 24, 2013

At issue: SGA minutes last posted October 23. 

Our take: We all have our duties for SGA; SGA must adhere its duties to us

With a new secretary, the Student Government Association has a fresh opportunity to improve on its mixed record of posting valuable meeting transcripts. Making their minutes available for public viewing is a constitutional requirement, and this is an issue the group has struggled with in the past.

Yet the SGA finds itself shirking the responsibility again, with no minutes posted since October 23.

At every joint session meeting, the secretary chronicles the day’s agenda, noting attendance, votes, and what members contribute to conversation. These minutes are shared on Google Docs, and if time allows at the end of the meeting, joint session members, who have all received access to review the minutes at this point, vote to approve them. Once approved, the minutes are ready to be posted for students to read. The SGA’s own Constitution—Section 1, Part D—compels it to release its minutes within 48 hours of them being approved.

“The Secretary shall post, for public viewing, the minutes of each meeting within forty-eight (48) hours.”

But the SGA only posted six out of fourteen weeks of last semester. 

While occasional lapses may be forgiven, especially since there was no secretary last semester, not posting the minutes for two months is clearly negligent.

Students have the right to know about what their elected officials are deliberating. Instead, for the past two months, the only official records have been in frivolous, sporadic 140-character bursts—imagine if Capitol Hill’s announcements were only made through @Congress. And although the SGA fails to resemble the US government, it is still a representative body and must conduct itself as such. 

We all rely on this organization to do its job, and with a secretary that’s been in SGA before, there’s little excuse for continued oversight. Melyssa Cantor has a chance to correct this longstanding problem and set a precedent for future secretaries.

Every SGA-approved organization has to fill out tedious papers, including membership lists, appeals packets, mission statements, and more. Although this paperwork may be monotonous, we understand it is our responsibility to comply to SGA standards. It is only fair that the SGA should abide by its own standards, as tedious as they may seem.

Perhaps if students knew what SGA was up to, more would be interested in joining —and it wouldn’t still have two vacant positions.