By John Morris, ASUB Student in Marketing Office
BEEBE, Ark.: – The Student Government Association (SGA) at Arkansas State University-Beebe held their first meeting of the semester on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020 with ratification of amendment announced on February 20.
SGA President Matthew Sparks reviewed the organization’s achievements from the previous year and highlighted the launch of the SGA Food Pantry. Discussion included the amendments to the SGA Constitution, the creation of the Hope Fund, planned collaborations with campus departments, and the resolution to create student senates on the Heber Springs and Searcy campuses.
A resolution was passed calling for a special election to ratify six referred constitutional amendments, namely:
1. Create student senates on the Heber Springs and Searcy campuses
2. Establish an Intercampus Leadership Council
3. Allow caucus format elections in fall semesters
4. Allow for local by-laws
5. Merge the Ethics Committee and the Election Commission improve the wording
SGA also passed a resolution to create the Student Emergency Hope Fund which will be a part of the ASU System Foundation. It will serve students who are facing unexpected financial difficulty and assists students with monetary relief that does not exceed $200. One of the primary goals of the Student Emergency Hope Fund is to provide aid as quickly as possible. The fund will be managed by an oversight committee comprised of nine members, which will include student representatives from each of the ASU-Beebe campuses, as well as faculty and staff members. To ensure a rapid response to applicants, each case will be decided by sub-committees. The Student Emergency Hope Fund will be supported through fundraising initiatives.
Additionally, SGA passed a resolution to create student senates on the Heber Springs and Searcy campuses. The goal is to provide more accessible locations to encourage increased student participation in SGA. Each campus SGA will elect their own senators independently. The ASU-Beebe SGA “Intercampus Leadership Council” will meet annually to discuss the issues and organizational needs of the SGA on all the ASU-Beebe campuses.
The next meeting of the SGA will be held on Monday, February 24, 2020.
Update from Thursday, Feb. 20, Director of Student Life Zackery Tucker announced the ratification of SGA Issue 01 – the referred constitutional amendment of January 27, 2020:
Monday, January 27, 2020, the Student Senate adopted Resolution 014 of 2019-2020 calling for a special election to be held February 10-14, 2020, referring to the student body an amendment to the SGA Constitution; namely:
“A PROPOSED STUDENT GOVERNMENT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: (1) AUTHORIZING THE ORGANIZATION OF STUDENT SENATES ON THE HEBER SPRINGS AND SEARCY CAMPUSES; (2) ESTABLISHING AN INTERCAMPUS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL; (3) AUTHORIZING THE USE OF CAUCUS FORMAT ELECTIONS IN THE FALL SEMESTERS; (4) COMBINING THE COMMITTEE ON ETHICS WITH THE ELECTION COMMISSION; (5) REMOVING OF LANGUAGE SPECIFICALLY DETAILING COMMITTEES; AND (6) AMENDING VARIOUS OTHER LANGUAGE RELATED THEREUNTO.”
Yesterday, the SGA Election Commission certified the results of last week’s student government election. With 10.55% of the students voting, the constitutional amendment was ratified by the student body, receiving 91.95% of the votes cast; and 8.05% of students voting to reject the amendment.
This is a monumental moment for our student body as they modernize the structure of self-government at ASU-Beebe and expand leadership opportunities to all campuses.
Additionally, the students are excited about the increase in student voter participation. The record 10.55% voter turnout is an improvement from the Fall 2019 election’s 8.72% voter turnout; and shatters the national average student government voter turnout of 4.00% (as reported by the American Student Government Association.)
In the coming weeks, SGA leadership will be publishing a transition plan in coordination with student development staff on each campus to implement in the ratified changes to the student government constitution.