Above: SGA general assembly meeting on October 16 (Courtesy of David Tocco/The Current)

By David Tocco, Staff Writer

Last Friday’s Student Government Association (SGA) general assembly meeting was packed with student organization representatives as many important topics were presented and discussed.

SGA president Cameron Roark, senior, criminology, first addressed the Campus Safe Walk. The Campus Safe Walk found many inoperable lights, the locations of which will be sent in a report to the Chancellor.

SGA also discussed the parking appeals committee and the new implementation of student involvement in the parking ticket appeal process. Roark also informed student leaders that the Missouri Legislature recently passed a bill that elemintates previously designated Free Speech Zones on college campuses. The entire campus is now open for potential protests.

Much of the discussion addressed the university’s poor financial standing and proposed budget cuts and fee increases. This drew many questions from student leaders upset by lack of funding. Some expressed concerns about how the expansion efforts on campus have affected budget cuts and why a state-of-the-art Recreation and Wellness Center took priority over general maintenance and repair and necessities such as classroom furniture. Roark said that he will upload fee increase proposals to the SGA TritonSync portal. He also said that increases in student enrollment can help the budget issue.

Vice President Kristin Wyninegar, senior, communications, started by addressing the Food Service Advisory Committee findings on how to improve campus dining. She followed with an “Ask a Senator” update and a committee reports discussion. Wyninegar mentioned that the Student Affairs Committee has designed ‘no firearms’ signs for the campus. The Physical Facilities Committee plans to remove staff parking on South Campus and replace it with additional handicap parking.

Wyninegar also discussed tentative plans to change UMSL’s online faculty-to-student system from Blackboard to Canvas. If put into effect, this change will be implemented across the University of Missouri System.

Comptroller Michael Clark, junior, accounting, also briefly addressed the assembly, saying that there are no remaining funds in the budget for co-sponsorships and that they are spending money as much as they can. Of the $21,525 Student Activity Budget Committee (SABC) allocation, there is $8075.90 in expenses for the fiscal year. Of the remaining $15,329.69, Clark said, “We plan on spending all that money.” When asked for a breakdown of SGA’s current and future money allocations, Clark said it was not immediately available but that he would soon provide this information.

A new cell phone policy drafted by the IT Committee was the final topic addressed. The policy encourages faculty members to allow students to use mobile devices to “enhance teaching, learning, and research,” while recognizing that mobile devices present the possibility for distraction. The policy also states that students must silence their mobile devices while in an academic setting and that failure to comply can result in dismissal from class. SGA leaders voted on the policy, which passed with an overwhelming majority. This approval will be sent to the IT Committee and the process will continue before eventual implementation.

The next SGA meeting will be held on November 13 in the SGA Chambers on the third floor of the Millennium Student Center and is open for all students to attend.