A code of ethics and accountability for the Student Government Association passed with approval from nearly every senator during the last senate meeting. SGA had been operating without any accountability codes since February when the old accountability codes were abolished.

Parliamentarian Zwiesineyi Chindori-Chininga authored the code, S.B. 5., and Sen. Jovahana Avila sponsored the bill but was not present to vote it through final passage. In the previous meeting, senators passed a bill that granted them the ability to vote on their own legislation or legislation that they sponsored.

The new code of ethics and accountability allows the student body to file a complaint against any member of the association. Students can also attend the adjudicative hearing if the parliamentarian deems that the allegations require further recourse. Prior to scheduled adjudicative hearings, the public can address the allegations, which would be presented by the president as commentary of the public. Complaint forms can be picked up in Student Life or filled out online.

Under the code, only severe allegations will result in an adjudicative hearing. In this case, the entire judicial branch thoroughly examines matters before determining the need for a hearing. Also, a member of SGA would have to acquire three constitutional observance entreaties (COEs) for the same offense or five for a variety of offenses in a semester before an adjudicative hearing would be scheduled.

If a member of SGA is found guilty of the allegations made against them, they can appeal the penalty but not the verdict.

Senators addressed various concerns with the bill prior to voting; one such concerns dealt with the grounds for expulsion of members. Chindori-Chininga clarified that the expulsion discussed in the codes applied to the association, not the university, as all SGA bills are an intra-governmental process.

Sen. Oliver Guerra brought introduced an amendment in section two of the bill, clarifying that the parliamentarian is excluded from the executive board.

Though the association practiced informal checking during the time they went without codes and plans to continue doing so, Chindori-Chininga said she feels SGA is now a “more honest association.”

“I’m proud of our senators for taking that step and being responsible individuals to make sure that this happens [passing of S.B. 5] during their tenure, and we’re able to keep ourselves accountable,” said Chindori-Chininga.

Members of the association have the ability to keep checks and balances on each other either through S.B. 5 or penal codes, which are a shorter process in comparison to the accountability codes.

SGA is also hosting a forum today at 6:30 p.m. in Carter Auditorium. President George E. Martin will be giving an address, but will not be taking questions. After a reception, a panel will discuss housing and campus safety.

“Any questions that cannot be addressed by the panel will be taken by Dr. [Lisa Kirkpatrick, vice president for Student Affairs], who will reach out to the right people for the best answer and we will get back the student,” SGA President Jamie Cardenas said.