SGA debates elimination of Freshman Council, tables ammendment

Freshman Council is off the chopping block for at least another week on Tuesday after the Sam Houston State University’s Student Government Association tabled the bill that would eliminate it until next meeting.

SGA once again postponed a vote on F13-09, the sweeping legislation that would get rid of the Freshman Council program and create a replacement Council program for those who want to join SGA but have less than 12 SHSU hours.

External Affairs Chief Cristan Shamburger proposed F13-09 1A, an amendment to the bill that would strip those council members of their power to vote on, propose and endorse legislation under F13-09.

Both pieces of legislation make various changes to the SGA Rules and Regulations.

Freshman Council Leader Jessica Oswald (COFAMC) said that if F13-09 1A were to pass, it would give those on Council less representation than they would have with the original bill.

“It makes me feel that [council members] can’t do anything,” Oswald said. “I don’t want that to be the precedent of this discussion or of this legislation because they play a very active role in this student government.”

Freshman Council member Manuel Solorzano is a junior transfer student at SHSU but does not have the required 12 SHSU hours that will allow him in the Senate. He said the current rules are not clear about where transfer students who are interested in student government should be placed.

“We have more responsibilities, yet we have less incentive to get into [the Senate],” Solorzano said. “There is a loophole for us, which is basically wait until next semester. I would have my 12 hours, I don’t have to go through all this. Basically what we are, we are observers.”

Shamburger said since the SGA Constitution delegates legislative power to the Senate, Council members would not be constitutionally allowed to vote on, propose or endorse legislation since they would technically not be senators, just as they are technically not senators under the Freshman Council program.

“The essence of the bill is excellent,” Shamburger said. “We feel there is a need to clarify some of the things that it’s adding to the Rules and Procedures.”

Article III, Section 1 of the SGA Constitution reads, “all legislative powers, except as otherwise specifically provided, shall be vested in the Student Senate of the student body of SHSU.”

Student Affairs Chief Alex Rangel questioned the definition of the term “legislative powers” in an effort to thwart the legitimacy of Shamburger’s argument.

According to Rules and Regulations Chief Steven Perry, the term “legislative power” is not explicitly defined in the SGA Constitution, nor is it defined in any governing document.

“It does provide several enumerations on those powers,” Perry said.

Article III, Section 8 of the SGA Constitution gives the Senate the power to “identify student attitudes and formulate student positions,” and “promote the welfare of the student body.

Both the F13-09 and F13-09 1A were tabled until Nov. 5 in an effort for the senators to create a compromise bill.

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