Student Association

Bill passes that will require SA speaker of the assembly to attend meetings

Liam Sheehan | Staff Photographer

The bill was passed after parliamentarian Obi Afriyie, who was presenting the bill as acting speaker, broke a 9-9 voting tie in the assembly.

The Syracuse University Student Association passed a bill Monday night that would amend the responsibilities of the speaker of the assembly for future SA legislative sessions.

“The Speaker of the Assembly Cabinet Bill” will require the speaker of the assembly to attend cabinet meetings. The bill was passed after parliamentarian Obi Afriyie, who was presenting the bill as acting speaker, broke a 9-9 voting tie in the assembly.

The bill was originally presented at an SA meeting on Feb. 13, but SA’s inability to meet quorum forced the assembly to table the bill.

Afriyie said the goal of the bill is to make the speaker a liaison between the cabinet and the assembly. The speaker should also have knowledge of the bills being presented at assembly meetings in the event that the speaker would need to cast a tie-breaking vote on a bill, he said.

According to the SA constitution, the speaker only has the ability to vote on a bill if a tie needs to be broken. Afriyie said that last semester’s speaker cast a tie-breaking vote on a bill even though she had no knowledge of what the bill was about.

“The speaker has a lot more power than they’re being given credit for,” Afriyie said.

Drew Jacobson, SA’s recorder, agreed that a liaison was needed between the assembly and the cabinet. Until recently, he said most people didn’t know that Diasia Robinson, SA’s Diversity Affairs Chair, was part of the cabinet.

“They’re not great at communicating,” Jacobson said. “The liaison role just wasn’t happening.”

He added that the speaker is responsible for managing cabinet presentations at Monday night meetings. If the speaker was present at cabinet meetings, Jacobson said the speaker could ensure that cabinet members were doing their mandatory reports on Monday nights.

Other members of the assembly, including SA’s current speaker, Andrew Regalado, said he did not believe that the bill was necessary.

“When the bill went to (the Administrative Operations committee), I made sure to add that it would be for the next speaker because I personally don’t think it’s a part of my position to go to cabinet meetings,” he said.

Janine Bogris, SA’s Board of Elections and Membership chair, also said she did not believe the bill was necessary because the president is already the mediator between the cabinet and the assembly. Bogris held the speaker of the assembly position during the 59th Legislative Session.

Because the speaker of the assembly position is new, Bogris said SA should continue to determine what the speaker’s role in SA should be. Regalado and future speakers should help decide whether or not the speaker should be added to the cabinet, she added.

The speaker of the assembly position was brought back to SA during the 57th Legislative Session.

Nine assembly members voted to pass the bill Monday night, while nine voted against the bill. Afriyie, presenting the bill as acting speaker, had the ability to break the tie.

“Did I not say this was an issue with the speaker?” Afriyie asked the assembly. “Because now we have a 9-9 tie.”

Afriyie cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of passing the bill, allowing it to pass.

 

Other business

Terra Peckskamp, director of SU’s Office of Residence Life, gave a presentation about the upcoming Syracuse 4+4 program. Syracuse 4+4 is a proposed set of skills ORL hopes all SU students can achieve before graduation, according to a handout distributed at the SA meeting.

The skills are divided into eight “competencies,” some of which include creative, quantitative, scientific and communicative abilities. Peckskamp said the 4+4 program is currently determining which competencies students already acquire in classes and extracurricular activities in order to craft a program that can be applied to every school at the university.

Members of SA told Peckskamp the Syracuse 4+4 program should include problem-solving abilities and take note of skills students acquire in off-campus jobs.

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