Senate passes open dorm bill again after veto

Senators speak before the session starts.
Senators speak before the session starts.
Senators speak before the session starts. | Photo by Luke Brake

Harvey Auditorium, dimmed so the small text on the projector screen was clear, was filled with Union senators Wednesday night. Benton Hurt, vice president of the student body and sophomore biology major, called this semester’s second meeting of senate to order.

This senate meeting featured ordinary appeals for funds, lights and a long display of parliamentary procedure regarding the newly passed bill to extend open dorm hours.

After chaplain and senior Christian studies major Christian Winter’s scripture reading and prayer, the newly elected clerk Trey Gerrel, senior Christian thought and tradition major, called roll. A handful of senators’ seats were absent. But significantly fewer seats were empty compared to last semester, since senate has enforced a stricter attendance policy.

Senate ambassador and sophomore political science major Nathan Van Neste informed the senate body about the success or failure of past bills.

While the bill to allow for mobile ordering in the Lex failed to pass last senate session, Dean of Students Brian Carrier talked to the Lex staff about speeding up the process of food production. Carrier told Van Neste that he would inquire into the student teacher materials lab bill passed last session. The bill to extend open dorm hours, however, was vetoed by student body president and public relations major Kaylee Gibson.

Hurt made a motion to suspend the rules in senate for the SGA president to be allowed to speak to the senate body. After much confusion, the suspension was passed, and Gibson addressed the body.

Gibson said while she did not necessarily disagree with the contents of the bill, she vetoed the bill because of the way the legislation was presented.

“I feel that some information presented alongside the resolution was misinformed,” Gibson said. “I appreciate Mr. Taylor and Mr. Melton’s diligence in researching the legislation, however, administration wants to be clear that amendments to the wording of the legislation will not affect its passage by the executive council or the board of trustees.”

In an attempt to make sure the bill was properly voted on, she used her veto power to resume discussion by the senate body, she said.

“Through this veto, you will have the chance to ensure that your voice is properly heard by either overriding my veto or by allowing a new resolution to be presented and debated,” she said.

While senators could override the veto, they could also choose to uphold the veto on the bill and debate the same bill as a presented bill on the senate floor. Those who disagreed with the bill and those who wanted extended debate on the bill could discuss it if the veto was not overturned.

Several senators called for an override of the veto. Hurt calculated the votes, which failed to reach the two thirds required for an overturn.

Hurt explained to the senate body again what a veto was, and called for a second vote on the veto.

Caleb Hall, junior teaching English as a second language major, asked to suspend the rules so there could be discussion whether or not to override the veto. Because this motion was made after the motion to veto, it was not brought to a vote.

Confused murmurs filled the hall as the veto failed to be overridden a second time.

One bill asked for $200 for the Phi Alpha Theta national history honor society conference; it passed.

The next bill presented was the new open dorm hours bill. The bill, exactly the same text as before, was presented again by Ben Melton and David Taylor, both junior biology majors.

One amendment was brought to the floor by Hall. His amendment would extend open dorm hour extensions to the Heritage dorms instead of just the Quads.

Will Donelson, a chemistry major, pointed out that President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver did not seem to want extended hours for the freshman dorms. He urged that senate should “heed Dub’s words as he is much wiser than us.”

The amendment failed to pass.

The bill was voted on, after more debate, and it passed with an overwhelming majority in the same state as it passed before. Had the bill not been vetoed, the same bill would have been sent to administration.

The next bill, which passed, allocated $200 to the J. H. Eaton society for a meal for their first meeting.

Finally, the last senate bill was presented and passed, asking that the administration install lights on the Brewer Dining Hall patio.

Senate then was called to recess, but then continued on with announcements, as organizations spoke to the senate body about upcoming events.

Image courtesy of Luke Brake|Cardinal & Cream
About Luke Brake 36 Articles
Luke Brake is an English major in the Union University class of 2017. He is the Cardinal & Cream's News editor and Arts and Entertainment co-editor. Luke loves poetry and wants to be a knight when he grows up.