SGA vote on ethics postponed after senators adjourn meeting early


A bill passed by the SGA senate Oct. 6, allows the author of the bill the ability to vote, if an eligible member.

The Student Government Association is taking active steps towards more closely mirroring the structure of the U.S. government.

During the senate meeting Oct. 6, a bill discussing changes to senate voting procedures passed, but time ran out on a vote on a new accountability and ethics code.

The meeting adjourned early as some senators had other plans scheduled.

A code of ethics and accountability will be voted on in the next formal senate meeting Oct. 27.

The bill, also called S.B. 5, is authored by Parliamentarian Zwiesineyi Chindori-Chininga and sponsored by Sen. Jovahana Avila.

The code is based on a checks and balances system.

The old Accountability Codes, established years prior, were abolished in February. The old codes used a test to measure senator’s capabilities and knowledge of SGA, while S.B. 5 does not.

Eight of the then 12 senators failed the review in November 2015.

“This is more code and constitution focused and it allows those that are fulfilling their duties to do so without being hindered with any kind of ritual evaluation,” Chindori-Chininga said.

Section one of S.B. 5 allows members to file a complaint against any member of the association.

A court justice will then decide whether the allegations warrant an investigation.

If so, the member complained against will be asked to provide a response.

If the parliamentarian decides further recourse needs to take place, they will issue a notice of a hearing to the complainant, respondent and the public.

“This one involves the public a whole lot more. In fact every aspect of this accountability code involves the public,” said Chindori-Chininga. “There’s definitely more confidentiality in terms of filing a complaint. The test system that we had for the prior accountability codes doesn’t make sense in terms of the U.S. Constitution right now.”

Section two of S.B. 5 gives the respondent the opportunity to appeal their complaint during an adjudicative hearing.

The code also includes a constitutional observance entreaty, or COEs, as a non-punitive way to focus members on violations.

Also on the agenda was a bill proposed by Sen. Oliver Guerra. The bill has changed the current voting procedure that do not allow the author of a bill to vote on it. Now, all eligible voting members can vote.

In the previous school year, Guerra proposed a bill, but since he was the author, he could not vote on it and the bill did not pass.

“It doesn’t matter what way you vote, I just want to make sure that every senator has the right to vote on every piece of legislation because I know how important each vote is,” Guerra said.

Senators expressed concern that sometimes quorum creates difficulties with voting. Guerra said that the author of a bill typically proposes something that they are passionate about.

Addressing the senate after the bill was passed, Vice President Carlos Martinez said, “Now that you all have the opportunity to vote for your own stuff, you need to be more hypercritical. And you should always be hypercritical, but even more so now.”