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SGA elects new Academic Affairs Chair; votes down G.I.R.L.S.

By Pat Holohan, Staff Writer

After an executive session that lasted more than a half hour, the Student Government Association rejected the group Those G.I.R.L.S., Grownups in Real Life Situations, from becoming a club under SGA by a vote of 10 in favor and 33 against. This was the group's second attempt to become a club; SGA first voted against it two weeks ago with 14 in favor, 21 against and 13 abstentions.

Some senators say that many of the students who would join the group are former members of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, which is currently banned from the University for hazing practices, and that members may use it to recruit for the sorority. Each time SGA has voted against the club, senators advised Those G.I.R.L.S. to rework their purpose, which they say is to help students navigate the stresses of everyday college life as an alternative to therapy.

There was also some controversy about the cabinet's process of going into executive session during cabinet meetings.  Senator Jared Berry accused the cabinet of "keeping secrets," and asked for more transparency, saying that the senate has a right to know what is being said during all meetings.  In addition, Senators Ralph Dweck and Tyler Greenpope both said, that while they had been asked to leave because of an executive session, the cabinet never actually voted on going into executive session.

Vice President Akeem Mellis said that the cabinet occasionally needs to speak privately on various issues and that such issues would not be included in senate minutes. Though the controversy regarding secrecy by the cabinet is a matter of opinion, controversy remained as to why the cabinet would not vote to go into executive session in order to hold discussions. Parliamentarian Mike Brandt called the controversy a "miscommunication" and both agreed that the cabinet sometimes needs to discuss matters privately.

In other senate news, Erin Zanfardino resigned from her position as chair of the Academic Affairs committee, citing a lack of passion for the field as her reason for stepping down.  Senator Jimmy Wells defeated Senator Franky Vivacqua in a vote for the vacant position.

The loss came despite the former chair, Senator Zanfardino, giving her support to Vivacqua, saying, "He gets it," and that he has a "very, very clear vision for the future of academic affairs." Both Vivacqua and Wells spoke of putting teacher evaluations online, which the senate passed as a resolution two years ago, as their most important goal as chair. Wells will begin his new role immediately.

Members of Those G.I.R.L.S. appeal to the SGA to pass their club. (Caitlin Gilvary/The Chronicle)

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