The Student Government Association debated potential constitutional amendments and heard the progress of the Financial Accountability Initiative at the March 26 meeting.
SGA approved 39 amendments to appear on the General Election ballot. The majority of the amendments consisted of word choice changes for clarity and edits to fit changes SGA has made in the last semester, such as the new affiliation process. SGA will discuss other new changes to the constitution at the next meeting on April 2 as the March 26 meeting ran out of time.
The Financial Accountability Initiative, a document released by SGA and co-sponsored by 19 other student organizations in spring 2018, details 17 proposals for the college to use as a starting point to work towards making the college more financially accessible.
One proposed amendment for the constitution that suggests the four class presidents should meet with the executive president once a month sparked some discussion at the meeting. Brady Baca, the class of 2022 senator, said he wanted to change the amendment to require the class presidents to meet with the entire executive board once a month.
Baca suggested that if class presidents are unavailable to meet with the Executive Board, other members of their class councils can fill in for them. The amendment passed without Baca’s suggestion and with one dissenter—Baca.
“I feel like the Executive Board can at times be inaccessible to folks on Class Council,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “I struggle sometimes to figure out how I can have my voice heard and how I can have the things that I want to talk about in joint session brought forward.”
SGA approved multiple proposed amendments to the constitution. One proposed amendment dictates that when an elected official leaves the constituency they were elected to serve, they must immediately leave their former position. The amendment comes in response to former Journalism Senator Joseph Davidi’s major change to Visual Media Arts before resigning as Journalism senator.
The student body votes on the proposed amendments on April 3 and 4 within the joint SGA and Voice Your Choice ballot online. SGA votes on which proposed amendments go on the ballot, but students vote on whether or not the amendments become part of the constitution.
Executive Treasurer Ian Mandt spoke about the college’s progress pursuing the suggestions in SGA’s Financial Accountability Initiative.
Mandt mentioned progress on several goals including making Emerson Los Angeles more accessible to low-income, off-campus students. Currently, off-campus students with need-based financial aid who attend Emerson Los Angeles do not see an increase in their need-based aid when the college requires them to live in on-campus housing in Los Angeles. In response to the initiative, the college allocated $200,000 to assist low-income off-campus ELA students.
Mandt said academic departments will start announcing the additional costs of certain class materials ahead of classes. The college will also start advising parents to anticipate a three to five percent increase in tuition annually.
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to have these conversations,” Mandt said in an interview. “It’s afforded SGA the opportunity to learn about a lot of things we didn’t know about before … I’m especially excited about the LA housing. For the 200 or so students who participate each semester, that’s going to make a big difference for them and it’s something that was a big priority going in.”
The EVVY awards appeal for $31,000 to help fund the show was unanimously approved with two abstentions—Class of 2022 President Cassie Shelly and Marketing Communications Senator Will Palauskas. SGA has $59,131 left in the appeals account to spend for the rest of the semester.