By Courtney Walsh, Assistant News Editor
Senators buckled down for a long night of legislation and debate Tuesday evening at the weekly Student Government Association (SGA) meeting. The meeting was called to order at 6:17 p.m. and within 15 minutes senators were locked in debate. First on the agenda Appropriations Chairman Jordan Baer and Academic Affairs Chairwoman Melanie Rosner purposed a bill amending the SGA constitution redefining office hour requirements. In their bill Baer and Rosner defined an office hour as "60 minutes dedicated to the Student Government Association outside of all other Senator and Cabinet member requirements and responsibilities."
Previously an office hour was defined as "60 consecutive minutes where a Senator is available in the SGA office."
Baer said that one of the reasons he and Rosner brought about the legislation was to "better identify" and "clarify" what an office hour can be.
"There are many loop holes throughout our constitution and policy series, which is why we were trying to fix this. We already do these tasks, so why can't they be added?" said Baer.
Rosner and Baer's bill stated that "office hours can be in the form of physical time in the SGA office, tabling hours, Homecoming float building hours, meetings with administrators regarding SGA initiatives, and any other additional SGA commitment as approved by the Ethics and Conduct Chair."
Senator Ralph Dweck was the first to speak against the new bill.
"Sixty extra minutes is what you (the SGA) spend as a representative to the student body, just as all political parties spend time for their constituents. Along with that we have other things that entail our attention and hard work," said Dweck. "Attending a 10 to 15 minute committee meeting should not be all that needs to be done for that committee!"
Baer and Rosner insisted that their intention was not to lessen the workload on senators and cabinet but to "broaden" the concept of office hours and to "encourage more SGA involvement" on campus and out of the office.
"I agree we should spend time in the office, but its not like every week we won't be in the office," said Baer.
The senate was torn. Some senators agreed fully with Baer and Rosner. "This is just a way to encourage people to do more things that are optional that they don't do right now," said Senator Alex Zielinski.
However many Senators were skeptical, and the bill failed to pass.
"Obviously when you are the bringer of a piece of legislation and part of it fails, there will always be disappointment; however, it is important to add that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we always have to respect that. I respect every senator around the table of regardless of how they vote," said Baer.
Another piece of poignant legislation was the changing of the "Club Affairs committee" to the "Club Relations committee." Along with the name change the Club Relations committee can now allocate club office space in the Student Center, and established an Office Space Chair who's is responsible for "maintaining a record of office space occupants and for enforcing SGA office space policies."
"I feel this legislation really cleans up the Club Relations aspect of the Student Government, and it makes it more clear and easier to understand," said Vice President Lukas Miedreich.
The new legislation also addressed Hofstra USA date distribution for club activities, fundraisers and miscellaneous events giving priority to previously established "annual" events.