By Kelsi Peace, Managing Editor
Congress supported a movement in Residence Life to expand visitation hours in sophomore dorms to five days a week at Wednesday’s Students’ Association meeting.
“The ResLife office has been talking about this,” said sophomore senator Jessie Lozano and co-writer of the resolution. “Basically, it just needs a little push. With SA and John Delony, [director of residence life] it will be a lot more powerful.”
The resolution, written by Lozano, sophomore senator Michael Amend and Hardin Administration Rep. Karissa Martin, supports extended hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, citing the move as good transition, study group aid and social improvement.
Congress passed the resolution with 30 votes supporting, five opposing and two abstaining, but also with several reservations.
Junior senator Kelline Linton and executive treasurer Kevan Kirksey, among others, raised concerns that the extended visitation hours would burden RAs, who currently have to walk the halls during visitation hours. And some worried the change could represent a cultural shift at the university.
“The whims of your constituents should be weighed against the core values of the university,” said vice president Daniel-Paul Watkins.
President Matt Worthington challenged Congress to be at the forefront of change among Christian universities, citing the university’s ability to set the standard.
“I think we have adequate people, apt people,” Worthington said. “I say that we be the leader.”
Ultimately, Congress chose to support the resolution, which will support a movement but has no power to make any changes.
“I’ve talked to my constituents, and this is what they want,” Lozano told Congress.
Other constituents voiced their concerns to Congress Wednesday during the open forum at the beginning of the meeting. Former Society of Physics Students president Austin Basye and SAAB vice president Darrien Grays raised budget questions, with Grays asking Congress to improve the proposal system and Basye inquiring about his organization’s budget.
Basye said he was concerned that Congress is not held to the same budgetary principles it holds other student organizations to, fully funding conferences SA representatives attend.
“I just haven’t seen what I would interpret as a return on that investment,” Basye said.
Kirksey addressed the concern, explaining the Cabinet cut its expenses by 90 percent this year, and adding that a knowledgeable student government benefits that campus community.
“We, as a student government, have to be knowledgeable,” Kirksey said. “Without that conference, that’s not going to benefit these groups, either.”
Also at the meeting a group of representatives calling themselves the Coalition for Concerned Congresspersons
addressed Congress after holding an informal discussion Wednesday in the SA office.
“We don’t think our meetings have been very productive, and that concerns us,” senior senator Brandon Smith said.
The group urged Congress to debate efficiently, to use voting to vocalize opinions and to remember disagreements are not personal.
“Our progress is being hindered,” chief development officer Ryan Stephen said. “Your vote is the biggest power you have.”
Congress postponed definitely a bill to amend the Constitution and by-laws to create a Chaplain position.
If passed next week, the student body must ratify the Constitution by-laws.