Tempers flared during the Student Government Meeting on Thursday, March 11, leading to a withdrawal of both presidential and vice presidential candidates and the SGA treasurer quitting entirely.
It all started when SGA senator Nick Garing, political science junior, introduced a bill during the meeting that would lower the constitutional requirement that executive SGA members maintain a 2.5 GPA to a 2.2 GPA and announcing he intended to run for an executive position.
“I plan on running,” Garing said. “My GPA is not a 2.5. I’ll be the first to admit that.”
During a discussion of the bill, SGA members clashed, voicing their support and opposition.
“As I’m aware you all know, our presidency is being run unopposed,” Garing said. “I think it’s a disservice to our campus to just let our student government have its president go in office run unopposed.”
SGA senator Tristan Williamson, English junior, said an uncontested election wouldn’t be good.
“If you have an uncontested election, that’s a huge bummer for your student body,” Williamson said.
SGA vice president Amanda Denbo, business senior, warned that executive SGA members work very hard, and it can be difficult to maintain a good GPA and balance executive duties.
“If you get one F or one D, you’re going down to at least a 2.0, which means you’re going to be this close to academic probation,” Denbo said. “That person, he or she, should take their time, and work on their studies and next semester, when they get a handle on college, they should come back.”
SGA chief justice Lee Allen, psychology, sociology and political science sophomore, said he agreed with Denbo.
“Student government is important, but your status as a student is definitely more important than what you are doing in this organization,” Allen said. “Your studies come first. We’re not going to take that time away from you.”
SGA press secretary Candice Boudreaux, business junior, said if the SGA wants to be a more legitimate organization, lowering the GPA standards is not going to help.
“That’s going to make it a lot worse,” Boudreaux said.
Bonsall said the bill introduced for the wrong reasons.
“It seems like [the SGA constitution] is not being changed to better SGA, but being changed so certain people can run even after the deadline has past,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of stuff there, I think there’s a lot of stuff in the background. Vote on the merits of this bill not based on the people that want to use this bill for their own benefit.”
After Thursday’s SGA meeting, election ballots were challenged in order for the SGA presidential elections to run contested.
Williamson said the election ballots were challenged by himself, Garing and Denbo.
Williams said the ballot signatures were contested in order to have a challenged presidential election comparing it to a Republican filibuster.
In an e-mail sent to The Horizon after the meeting, former SGA treasurer Kevin Evans , education freshman, explained why he was not only withdrawing his candidacy, but why he plans on leaving the SGA.
“The bill presented tonight at the meeting was used for personal gain to try to get Nick Garing to run for president or vice president,” Evans said.
Evans went on to express his disappointment with the ballot challenge.
“I am not upset with the fact that they tried to not let me run,” Evans said. “I am upset that they did it with the intentions of trying to better SGA.
“I worked very hard this semester and while they did vote me best senator of the year, I do not accept the award. I feel that the way they have acted toward this particular issue was not a well-thought-out
By MATTHEW CHINN