Members of Undergraduate Student Government (SG) held a senate meeting this weekend that was rescheduled without notifying the public.
The meeting was called Feb. 2 to address “pressing matters” that were unable to be covered Jan. 30 due to the university’s closure, according to minutes for the meeting provided by SG.
Student Body President Sinna Habteselassie did not say what the “pressing matters” were. In an email, Habteselassie said the phrase was “likely a form of satire” from Secretary Nathan Halbisen, who recorded the meeting minutes.
There was no mention of the meeting on SG’s website, social media channels or any other media outlets. SG only announced the meetings to student government members in a Listserv that “is explicitly meant for Student Government Senators,” Habteselassie said.
All meetings of Student Senate are required to follow the Ohio Revised Code pertaining to public meetings, according to Article 2, Title 2, Section 5 of the Student Government Bylaws.
Section 121.22 of the Ohio Revised Code states the following in regard to both scheduled and special meetings:
“Every public body, by rule, shall establish a reasonable method whereby any person may determine the time and place of all regularly scheduled meetings and the time, place, and purpose of all special meetings. A public body shall not hold a special meeting unless it gives at least twenty-four hours' advance notice to the news media that have requested notification, except in the event of an emergency requiring immediate official action. In the event of an emergency, the member or members calling the meeting shall notify the news media that have requested notification immediately of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting."
Habteselassie wrote in an email that The News Record specifically was not notified of the meeting due to email miscommunications and because Speaker Vineela Kunapareddi was sick. She failed to respond to requests for a statement on why the meeting was not announced to the public.
Here is a summary of which bills passed during the meeting, according to the minutes:
Christopher Stone was nominated for the position of Election Facilitation Committee (EFC) Chair. Sarvani Vemuri, Dheeraj Rawal, Gerald Crosby and Reiley Cowart were nominated for Senator-At-Large positions.
Changes to Election Facilitation Committee Chair Requirements
Voting members unanimously approved an enactment bill that amends requirements for the position of EFC Chair. The changes will now allow the chairperson to be approved by student senate after the 15th week of spring semester in extenuating circumstances.
It will now also be possible for the chairperson to be appointed with six months of Senate experience rather than one year of EFC experience, campaign team experience or experience running as a slate or candidate in a prior election.
Co-sponsorship of Dining Services during 1819 Celebration of SG
Senators also voted unanimously to appropriate $538.97 for food during the 1819 Celebration of Student Government, which took place at the 1819 Innovation Hub Feb. 5. The event was hosted by the Student Government Mentorship Program (SGMP), but that program’s budget was insufficient to fully fund the event.