Slew of SGA legislation includes online forum, city partnership

Slew+of+SGA+legislation+includes+online+forum%2C+city+partnership

Madison McLean | @MadisonMcLean3, Contributing Writer

With the ends of their terms in sight, senators from the Student Government Association (SGA) sometimes scramble in the spring to pass legislation. That was evident in this week’s Senate meeting, which had an unusually high number of resolutions on the docket. 

Here are this week’s SGA highlights:

  • Launching of Bama Asks
  • Addition of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee within SGA
  • Creation of a scholarship calendar on the SGA website
  • SGA-sponsored Tuscaloosa City Councilor Advisory Committee

Bama Asks

Authors: Caitlyn McTier, Jason Rothfarb, Sam Rickett

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, a new platform called “Bama Asks” launched on the SGA website. This tool provides a way for students to send in questions or concerns regarding their experience at the University, ranging from financial aid to football tickets.

Other college campuses, like Auburn and Ole Miss, have implemented this tool. Chief Advisory to the President, Caitlyn McTier, said it was only fitting to provide UA students with a means to ask questions without having to visit an office to get their answers. 

“It was really effective at Auburn, and they do a good job of engaging with their students that way,” McTier said. “Just as a way to be more transparent with our student body, we wanted to create that here so students could have a way to connect with us that wasn’t just always coming into the office.”

“Bama Asks” is available now on the SGA website and can be found here. Students who send in questions should receive an answer within 5-7 days. 

DEI Committee

Author: SGA President Harrison Adams

An amendment to create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee within SGA was passed in the Senate meeting tonight. The Senate is currently required to maintain six permanent committees. Four of the six committees correspond to the vice president positions for External Affairs, Student Affairs, Financial Affairs and Academic Affairs. The vice president for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is the only standing position on the executive council that does not have a corresponding committee in the Senate. 

In order for this amendment to be added to the Constitution, it will have to be passed by the student body, which will be up for a vote in the coming elections in March. 

Scholarship Calendar

Author: SGA VP of Academic Affairs Allison Bailey

A scholarship calendar will launch within the next two weeks on the SGA website, indicating all available scholarships and their respective deadlines. There is currently no comprehensive calendar of deadlines and due dates for The University of Alabama’s various available scholarship funds. 

Allison Bailey, vice president of Academic Affairs, initiated the creation of the scholarship calendar based on feedback from students from a student paneling event held this past week. At this event, students gave their opinions on things they felt like SGA could do better for them to improve their academic success.

“One of the ideas that was given to us was to create a calendar on the SGA website for scholarship applications,” Bailey said.

The calendar will fall under the Academic Resources tab on the SGA website. 

City Councilor Advisory Committee

Authors: Brooks Payne and Harrison Adams

SGA will create the Tuscaloosa City Councilor Committee as a way to further its partnership with the City of Tuscaloosa. This committee will work directly with District 4 Councilor Lee Busby and Mayor Walt Maddox from the city of Tuscaloosa. The committee will help advise on a number of University- and city-related matters such as lighting, transportation and safety. 

The committee will be made up of 10 students. Two of the seats will be filled by the president and vice president of External Affairs (VPEA), and the remaining eight seats will be assigned through an application process administered through the External Affairs cabinet, with one nomination coming from the city councilman with the approval of the Senate. This committee will commence at the start of the 2020-2021 SGA administration. 

“President Adams and I originally got the idea while sitting with Councilman Busby after he won his election in the fall,” said VPEA Brooks Payne, one of the authors of the act. 

VPEA Brooks Payne said he and Harrison Adams, the SGA president, got the idea while sitting with Busby after he won his election in the fall. Payne said the advisory committee will function similarly to our various other committees, such as the SAFE Center Committee and Lobby Board. An application process will be open to all students that will gauge their interest in city affairs and civics, which will then be followed by an interview process with input from various members of SGA. 

“This process has worked well for other committees, and by modeling the formation of the Councilor Advisory Committee after it, we hope to build a strong team that will work to strengthen relations with the City of Tuscaloosa and our city councilor,” Payne said.

SGA Senate meetings are public meetings and take place in the Ferguson Forum room every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. For more, check out the full docket below.