Tuesday, October 27, 2020

SGA Hosts Town Hall

Monday night provided an outlet for students to air their grievances with the Student Government Association.

This “open mic” event began with a student suggesting a more strident role in accountability in terms of student organizations being appropriately registered and having their semester and/or year-long dues paid for. The central complaint was that students were not allowed to register their organizations past the allotted time that had been previously given to them. If an organization registers later than the given amount of time, they would not receive any funding for that semester and/or year.

Cordell Pulliam, president of K-ROO, UMKC’s student radio station, offered his own complaint, saying that K-ROO had to be allowed to function so that people would be able to experience “a real-life job in communications.”

SGA Vice President Alex Varon said that SGA had the interests of each group at heart. More time was already given to the students this year, Varon explained.

SGA Comptroller Pedro Tonhozi De Oliveria said that “better communication” was necessary to avoid running into the problem of late registration. The students that were complaining about this issue were interested in having clearer communication, but were frustrated with the overall process.

“As for the complaining, I wouldn’t necessarily call it that,” SGA Senator Aaron Hill said, putting a different spin on the students’ comments. He was nevertheless surprised at the overall clamor of the meeting. “I do believe that the constituents were very passionate about their topics and we as an SGA board were not prepared for such an outspoken group of people.” In the end, Hill was pleased at how things turned out.

After the meeting, De Oliveira clarified what the guidelines were for student organizations.
“Every organization needs to register prior the second week of fall classes. This process ensures that SGA and OSI can keep an updated list of active organizations and contacts,” De Oliveria said. Orgs become “defunct” when the deadline is not met, De Oliveira said. Some students thought that by setting this early deadline, SGA was being unfair.

SGA met immediately after the Town Hall to discuss whether or not student organizations should go defunct if they don’t register on time. The scarce attendance of the SGA Senators was brought up as a significant concern. SGA President Ida Ayalew mentioned that, while the Town Hall was a marvelous event, the attendance of the SGA Senators was unsatisfactory.

“Everyone was supposed to go,” Ayalew said. Ayalew was also concerned about a possible repeating pattern of absence.

Furthermore, Ayalew said that the SGA Senators across the board needed to pay attention to their constituents and be a bit less concerned with their own opinions. Hill had similar remarks on the SGA meeting.

“During the regular SGA meeting afterwards, I feel like there wasn’t enough talk about what occurred at the Town Hall in regards to certain issues,” Hill said. “I was disappointed more members were not at the Town Hall to really experience what was being said by the student body.”


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