Photo by Ethan Castro (He/him)
The Student Government Association (SGA) kicked off the second semester of the academic year with their first senate hearing on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 9:15 p.m. in Stuart Building 113. In an effort to make these hearings end a little sooner in the evening, SGA implemented a new method of approving newly proposed student organizations. This new method involves the senators receiving the proposed student organizations’ presentations before the hearing starts so that they can review them, thus cutting presentations from the hearing. Only questioning, discussion, and voting periods will take place going forward. At the this hearing, two potential student organizations presented: Information Technology and Management Organization (ITMO) and Women in Cybersecurity (WiCys).
Presenting first, ITMO President Fizza Arif and Treasurer Zachary Fleck answered questions from the SGA about their proposed student organization. ITMO is a student organization that any student can join, but that targets information technology and management topics and hosts various events such as hackathons, study sessions, and Bog hangouts. It differs from the already existing Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) because its hackathons and coding workshops are more focused on hands-on practices, whereas ACM’s are more focused on engineering, math, and theory. The presenters mentioned that the Information Technology and Management department has received a lot of requests for hackathons like these. To reach out to students from this department, ITMO plans to send out a newsletter and possibly collaborate with the other organization being presented at the meeting, WiCys.
Following their presentation, the SGA entered discussion, in which they debated whether or not to approve ITMO. One senator commented that it’s a very relevant organization that would unite a lot of students at Illinois Tech, and another applauded the group for having Dean C. Robert Carlson as their advisor, as it gives them credibility. Additionally, senators discussed the fact that the School of Applied Technology does not currently have a very large presence on campus, so this would help its students get more involved in the community. One of the only concerns brought up was that there was nothing especially unique about their events, because lots of student organizations already have study groups and hackathons. This was countered with the fact that following in other successful organizations’ footsteps is a respectful plan for a developing organization that’s just starting out. ITMO was approved as a new organization with 19 votes yes and two votes no.
After ITMO’s presentation, WiCys president Akvile Kiskis entered a round of questioning from the senate. WiCys is an organization for women who want to learn more about cybersecurity, but all genders are invited to attend its meetings. Last semester, it was a subset of the Association for Computing Machinery-Women (ACM-W), but have since realized that their goals differ enough for them to become their own organization. There is an official nationwide WiCys organization where members pay dues and can receive updates about potential internships and job postings. WiCys is currently coordinating an event with a company to come to campus and give an informational session this semester. Following this questioning period, the senate entered a discussion period. WiCys passed as a new organization with 18 yes votes and two abstaining votes.
Executive Assistant Katja Berthold began the executive reports by distributing the new SGA apparel, which is a baseball tee with red sleeves and the SGA logo on the chest.
Events Chair Henry White then promoted the new Bridge Project, which is intended to allow more accessibility and transparency between students and SGA members. Senators will be on the bridge before, during, and after the lunch hour for students to ask them questions. More updates on this project are to come.
Chief Justice Erin Monforti outlined her goals for this semester during her executive report. These include coordinating more effectively with Finance Board, recruiting someone to be the new Chief Justice, and continuing to cultivate a positive culture in SGA.
Members of the Communications Committees presented instead of Vice President of Communications Narkis Garcia for his executive report. Senator Mert Armagan is hoping students will submit content related to SGA to the various SGA social medias. Additionally, Senator Cameron Chrest is hoping to set up a system where students can send grievances and potential ideas directly to the SGA.
Finally, President Eric Scott commented that Robert’s Rules, a manual of parliamentary procedure utilized to maintain civility in meetings, will be taken more seriously this semester. Additionally, there are a number of open spots in the senate for this semester. There is one seat open each from Armour College, the College of Architecture, the College of Science, the School of Applied Technology, and the Stuart School of Business. People who have previously been involved with SGA will be given priority, then people who have previously ran for positions, then people who have not run or been involved with SGA in the past but would like to participate.
A new procedure being implemented in SGA this semester is the disciplinary procedure, which defines how the organization will be operating within the bylaws. The executive board voted to approve this procedure, but it can still be edited if senators find flaws in it.
The meeting minutes can be found online on the Illinois Tech Student Community Facebook group or on SGA's Facebook page, and anyone with questions or comments regarding SGA can direct them to [email protected]
Photo by Ethan Castro (He/him)