Student Government addresses formal complaints, discusses bylaws, passes clubs bills

COURTNEY CAVANAUGH and KASSY LOCHHEAD
STAFF WRITERS

Two complaints were filed with the Supreme Court of Franciscan University’s Student Government, and the Byzantine and Triathlon clubs presented bills at Student Government’s meeting Nov. 5.

Student Government also revisited a bill that was passed the previous week but was later ruled null and void.

Two formal complaints against the Senate were filed by Ned Hesser and Sen. Zachaeus Lock.

On Oct. 26, Fall Bill #47 was presented at an informal meeting seeking to allocate funds to the Franciscan University Triathlon Club. There was no representative from the club present and it was unclear if Student Government bylaws allowed the bill to be discussed without a representative. Chief Justice Thomas Valentine believed it was allowable, based on past experience.

David Schmiesing, Student Government adviser and vice president of Student Life, confirmed that the Senate has every right to suspend the bylaws and do as it wishes, with respect to the bylaws, so long as it has a two-thirds majority.

The following day, Lock filed a complaint challenging the senators’ actions on the bill. At Student Government’s formal meeting Oct. 28, no changes were made to the bill and it was passed by the senate under the normal procedures.

On Nov. 4, Valentine was asked by the chair, as per VII.A of the bylaws, whether this was allowed. Based on past experience, Valentine stated that it was permissible. As the senate discussed the bill, the justices talked amongst themselves and consulted Robert’s Rules of Order, one of the three documents by which Student Government is governed.

The court ruled in favor of Lock saying that Student Government’s actions to suspend bylaws were illegal. The court found that there are no clauses in the constitution or bylaws allowing bylaws to be suspended. The law states that a bill should be postponed until the next informal meeting.

At the end of the meeting, Valentine said he was mistaken and that the bylaws could not be suspended in this specific circumstance. He said that the senate should consider the bill to have been tabled and could potentially move to un-table it or to reinsert it into the agenda at a later date.

Another complaint was filed by Ned Hesser, under his given name Edward Frazier, concerning a Facebook post on Student Government’s official page. On Oct. 29, the post read:

“The FUSG respectfully requests Senator Lock to refrain from making any further accusations and including his own members of Student Government, of which he is a part of, into any on-line internet discussion or “forums”. Broadly labeling a whole group of colleagues by referencing them as possibly responsible for negative remarks posted on a social network app that is completely anonymous, simply to illicit a response from his colleagues is completely un-professional, degrading, and reserved for elementary types of discourse. If any grievance wishes to be filed, by any senator, it must be done so with the Judicial Branch.”

Hesser requested Student Government’s post be removed calling the response “inappropriate, degrading and childish.” The post was created after Lock saw a post about himself on the anonymous app Yik Yak. He took a screen shot of the “yak” and posted it to Facebook, tagging members of Student Government.

In his complaint, Hesser felt that Lock’s conduct was “highly unprofessional” but requested that “in the future such internal discipline issues be addressed at your own meetings.”

The court did not find a clause in the constitution or bylaws violated in the Facebook post.

“While I agree with the majority of this complaint against the Student Government and believe the actions of whoever chose to act in this way on the Student Government’s behalf were regrettable and misguided, I cannot help but support the dismissal of this case,” said Justice Elizabeth Costello in the concurring opinion. “No laws were cited as having been broken, thus leaving nothing for the court to rule upon. However, I suggest that the Student Government act with more tact … if situations similar to those discussed in this case should arise in the future.”

In addition to the questions surrounding bylaws, club bills were also discussed.

Franciscan Univerisity’s Byzantine Club requested that $80 be allocated to buy pizza for its “Everything You Wanted to Know About Byzantine Catholics but Were Afraid to Ask” event, recognizing that the FUS Byzantine Club was not budgeted funds for this semester. The breakdown of costs was 10 pizzas at $8 each.

The event will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in the International Lounge on Nov. 10. Thirty-40 students are expected to attend. The event will be advertised by flyers and social media as well as word-of-mouth. Fall Senate Bill #56, sponsored by Lock, was passed.

Franciscan University’s Triathlon Club requested that $200 be allocated for swimming passes for a training session at the Big Red pool on Nov. 6, 2015, recognizing that the Triathlon Club was not budgeted funds for this semester.

Roughly 10 participants are expected to attend this swim training session based on past participation in similar club events. The breakdown of costs is 10
passes at $20 each.

This is the first event of the Triathlon Club this semester and serves to help members to train for the Pittsburgh Triathlon on Dec. 3. This event took place Friday, Nov. 6 from 6-9 a.m. at the Big Red pool. Fall Senate Bill #56, sponsored by Senator Stephen Shaw, was passed.

At this week’s meeting, a representative of the Triathlon Club was present, and the Oct. 28 bill that was determined to be null and void was passed.

Assistant Editor Hannah Crites contributed to this report.

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