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SGA GenBoard meeting round-up 9/18

Jacob Downey, Luke Young


Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor


On Monday, September 18th the Student Government Association held their first public meeting of the semester. The meeting was opened with the procedure one might expect from a business casual event as Speaker Will Loughlin called the room to order. Initial discussions saw the room sound off with members’ names, positions, and favorite fall activities. The amount that related to Taylor Swift was staggering.

Guest speakers Provost Nate Bowditch and Counseling Center Director Robert Orf were then called upon to discuss the proposed merger of the Counseling Center and University Police in Highland Hall on the south side of campus. The initial plan was for UPD to reside on the ground floor of the building, with the Counseling Center and Health Services dividing the second floor, and Enterprise Technology & Services filling out the ground level. These floors would have separate entrances, but a shared parking lot. ​​The Counseling Center’s entrance would be located off of the shared parking lot where UPD vehicles would be present. This was cause for concern for Orf as he believes the cohabitation would create barriers for students seeking mental health services, stating that “While UPD officers are kind and caring people, the challenge is that students come to PSU with 17+ years of experiences, perceptions, and trauma, which could prevent them from presenting for mental health treatment if law enforcement and counseling services were co-located.” He further stressed that certain marginalized identities on campus would be put at an increased risk. Orf ultimately reported that after much consultation with experts including the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics and the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice, the Counseling Center, found that “… the co-location of counseling with law enforcement was an ‘unacceptable ethical risk,’ ‘potentially harmful for clients,’ ‘potentially dangerous for the community,’ and ‘opened up liability.’” At this time, the Counseling Center is planned to stay at its current location, with Health Services and UPD relocating to the Wellness Center at Highland Hall. 

Following this, Skyler Hammes was elected Class of ‘27 Treasurer, running unopposed and winning unanimously. She gave a brief speech and was inducted into office immediately. She cited her qualifications as having taken four business and finance adjacent classes during high school and being an accounting major here at Plymouth. 

The Student Art Collective next presented a CEA request for $2,400 to pay six bands to play for an hour each at the 2nd Annual Music and Arts Festival on October 7th. Concerns were raised by Hammes as to whether SAC would divide funds between band members or pay a lump sum to the bands as a whole. SAC president Emily Roy said she had not considered that and would most likely opt for the latter. The Clock alongside SAC was dismissed at this time in order for SGA to debate the issue. A notable discrepancy in the minutes published by SGA minutes as recorded by Liam Leavitt is that there seems to be no record of what exactly was discussed over a roughly ten-minute period. The minutes jump from the end of Roy’s presentation to a motion presented by Christyan Cimino to award SAC, $1,600 for the 4 bands they had currently booked. While it makes some sense not to award real money for hypothetical bands there is no way to recount whatever conversation was held over a roughly ten-minute period. Additionally left out were certain questions asked to both Orf and Roy by SGA representatives that may have provided additional context to the organization’s decision-making process. 

SGA left the door open that should two more bands materialize, SAC was welcome to reapply for the remainder of the original sum. If you’re in a band and need $400, reach out to SAC at @sacpsu on Instagram.

Loughlin proposed an amendment to SGA’s constitution titled “Amending Committees and Bylaw Amendments Wait Period”.  According to Loughlin, this would provide a framework to change SGA committees so that they are more conducive to activity and legislation drafting, while also shortening the waiting period from two weeks to five days for amending SGA bylaws. This amendment was passed unanimously and took effect immediately after the meeting adjourned. 

On top of miscellaneous claims of vandalism, a constituent concern on the placement of blue light phones around campus was raised by Jonah Rosenberg, the newly elected University System Student Board Representative, claiming that from each phone, you should be able to see the next. The phones are used to track your location as you move from one to another while on the phone with the police, but current placement does not allow this in any capacity. Student Body President Devote Gilmore responded that the blue phones have only seen use through testing, but more time and money had been requested for the installment of more blue light phones to fulfill the tracking capability in the past. This concern was tabled until the next meeting.

In the closing moments of the meeting, ‘27 Representative Quinn Hagerty discussed a potential initiative to expand composting efforts on campus. Another member referenced previous efforts by a student org to show the student body the amount of food being wasted last year. Despite the issue being tabled, Hagerty expressed interest in diving deeper into the subject in the future.

The Student Government Association holds meetings at 7 p.m. every Monday in Room 119 of The HUB. These meetings are open to all students. Any constituent concerns you may have can be brought up during these meetings or sent to your respective class representative.