Senate passes controversial amendment

Jackson Fuentes, Contributing Writer

Senators around the room gave speeches of affirmation and negation for multiple pieces of legislation during a tense meeting which ultimately led to the passing of all proposed legislation during its legislative session Sept. 20.

The Senate passed four pieces of legislation, including a constitutional amendment, a bill and two resolutions.

The constitutional amendment, which was written by Executive Vice President Lauren Forrest and Sen. Brooks Payne, would restructure the process of vacancies within the First Year Council (FYC). It was confirmed after extended questioning and multiple speeches of affirmation and negation on the floor.

As it stands, FYC applicants are currently blinded and reduced to a size appropriate for conducting interviews. Following interviews, each remaining applicant is scored with some being admitted as first year councilors.

This amendment, if passed during student government elections by the student body, would provide top scoring applicants initially denied entry with a chance to serve a residence hall should it not have qualified applicants of its own.

The amendment aims to improve the FYC for years to come so that those who made it to the final interview are given a better chance of serving their students, said Forrest, a senior majoring in advertising and marketing.

“We wanted to improve this year’s First Year Council as well as First Year Councils in the future by making it so the most qualified candidates can be in First Year Council,” Forrest said.

Payne, a sophomore majoring in communication studies, said filling vacancies would become easier if a pool of high-scoring applicants was readily available.

“Having gone through the process last year and then this year again, I see it important that the top applicants are seen as higher on the list,” Payne said. “I think it would be important that you have their voice heard as well.”

The amendment was opposed first by Vice President of Academic Affairs, Ross D’Entremont, a senior majoring in political science, under the pretense that assigning people from one dorm to serve a different residence hall is not equal representation. Later in the meeting, Chief of Staff Charlie Steinmetz, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, also gave a speech of negation, echoing the sentiments of D’Entremont.

The Senate also passed a resolution to make condoms more available for campus residents despite more extended questioning and speeches of affirmation and negation. The resolution, written by senators Bennett McGehee and Marquis Hollingsworth, encouraged the University to increase the supply and availability of condoms for students by adding more locations where they can be purchased. Additionally, the senators asked that the condoms be more strategically placed in private places such as bathrooms instead of in open public areas.

The Senate reintroduced and passed a bill written by senators Jason Rothfarb and Logan Sheaffer to bring back business casual. The legislation initially required senators to dress formally before only requiring senators to dress in business casual for special sessions of the Senate as well as the first Senate meeting of each month.

Finally, the Senate passed a resolution demonstrating the Student Government Association’s (SGA) support for students affected by Hurricane Florence. The resolution, written by senators Reagan Tonner, Caroline Stallings, Marquis Hollingsworth, Kathryn Hayes and Demarcus Joiner, acknowledges the 1,120 students at The University of Alabama whom are from the officially affected states of South Carolina and North Carolina. The resolution encourages SGA to support the victims and students impacted by the hurricane by collecting goods and monetary donations for those affected.