SGA passes several motions

Over the last two meetings, the Student Government Association (SGA) has approved four clubs and debated motions pertaining to different campus issues including marijuana use and legalization, Colby’s divestment plans, and the Alfond Forfeit Policy.
Led by SGA President Michael Loginoff ’16 and Vice-President Brittany Chin ’16, SGA approved the Colby Think Tank, the Colby Cricket Club, Young Americans for Liberty, and the Colby chapter of the Spoon University during the meeting.

Mathias Fressilli ’18 introduced and defended his motion that called for a SGA Marijuana Initiative, in addition to publicly supporting legalization in the state of Maine, pending majority student approval at the first SGA meeting of the month. Extensive debate followed, with major issues including whether SGA should take a stand on a major polarizing political issue, and whether the SGA could drive policy based on anonymous feedback from Yik Yak. The group tabled the motion until next week. However, instead of presenting it again at the following SGA meeting, Fressilli decided to let the motion “die respectfully.”

SGA also passed a motion that recommended the Board of Trustees Investment Committee “formally divest its direct holdings from Carbon Underground 200 companies and commit to withhold investments from these companies in the future”, led by Maddie Partridge ’18 ledthis motion on April 10. At the following meeting on April 24, Loginoff shared the Board of Trustees Investment Committee’s message, saying that there were no direct holdings in any Carbon Underground 200 company, but that there was a small indirect investment.

The investments were said to be more of a financial decision than a political one. Discussing his meeting with the Trustees, Loginoff added that the divestment motion was heavily discussed, and that he would like to “dispel the rumor the administration doesn’t care or get along with us.” Chin, Treasurer Osman Bah ’16, and Parliamentarian Ibraheem Baqai ’16 are all working on initiatives to ensure that current club leaders are appreciated for their work and club leaders and SGA leaders for the next year have a smooth transition process.

Tanya Kureishi ’17 introduced a motion to expand the Alfond Residency Forfeit Policy to include any cheating on the room draw by a non-senior. Any student caught cheating on the room draw or disobeying the system in any way will lose their right to live in the apartments, in addition to living in quad or suite at any time. Associate Director of Campus Life Kim Kenniston also worked on advancing this motion. The motion was passed, and should be introduced officially to the policy in the coming weeks.

At the last SGA meeting, Andrew Ferraro ’16, Alfond Dorm President, introduced three motions, none of which were passed. The first motion was to formally prohibit recording any private conversation between Colby students, faculty, and staff without prior notification. This motion was met with a great deal of discussion on what would be permissible and what wouldn’t permissible.
Scott Lehman ’16 and Elizabeth Paulino ’18 both had concerns about how  circumstantial the rule would be. Prashant Bashisth ’19 suggested that the motion should include a clause about malicious intent. Administrative Assistant Casey Ballin ’16 pointed out that the Student Handbook already talked about recording private conversation. Multicultural Affairs Ramon Arriaga ’16 recommended that the motion be tabled for the time being to allow for everyone to work on the wording and the specifics of the motion.

The other motions that Ferraro introduced both concerned the Civil Discourse. He proposed that the SGA recommend to the College Affairs Committee (CAC) that  lying (falsities, material omission, or misleading representation) about another Colby community member via the Civil Discourse or social media be made a suspendable liable offense and that the College hire a site administrator for the Discourse. Both of these motions invoked intense debate on the purpose and nature of the Civil Discourse and how this year’s posts had affected the campus culture.

Paulino talked about how the difference between the truth and lie was difficult, and that it was important for both sides of the story to talk about their perspective. She also pointed out that these motions weren’t necessarily a step  in the right direction for campus accountability. Kureishi said, “Truthiness is hard to judge. Everybody has a different intersectionality, and it could be really unfair” to have one person judge posts. Publicity Chair Kat Restrepo ’18 said “There’s value in how it’s currently set up,” and that it is important for students who do not feel as though they have any other avenue to share their valuable opinions.
The first motion wasn’t passed, and the second was tabled. Chin recommended that the motion be reintroduced, with modifications at the next formal meeting. Coincidentally, SGA meets with Vice President of Communications, Ruth Jackson next week at their informal meeting to continue with existing discussions on the General Announcements [General Announcements 2.0].

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