SGA uses executive session as private forum
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, May 9, 2013 18:05
A new proposed constitution was drafted behind closed doors during an executive session, a little known tactic, used at Loyola Student Government Association meetings.
The SGA by-laws address executive session without using the term executive session.
“Attendance at meetings shall be open to anyone. A 2/3 vote of the General Assembly [of those present] is required to expel any person from a meeting,”as cited in Article I, Section 2.
Several interviews, including senators, former senators, executive staff and the SGA adviser, have revealed various interpretations of how SGA can invoke executive session.
Executive session is ‘crucial’
Sean Rose, current SGA senator and vocal performance sophomore, said executive session is crucial to avoid hurt feelings.
“I believe executive session is necessary for SGA to discuss their opinions of the initiatives or charters presented in senate without possibly offending those bringing the initiatives to senate,” Rose said.
Rose said he believes the closed meetings benefit the students forced to leave.
“In my mind, executive session is a courtesy to the students sitting in on a senate meeting, as it provides a space in which senators can be honest about how they feel about presented initiatives or charters without making the students bringing forth those initiatives and charters feel personally attacked, denied, etc.,” Rose said.
Shannon Donaldson, vice president of communication, and Michael Falotico, executive vice president, agree executive session is crucial to avoid outside influences.
The purpose of executive session is to “make decisions without outside influence,” Donaldson said.
Concerning information discussed in executive session, Donaldson said, “The public doesn’t necessarily need to hear or participate in.”
Rose, Falotico, Courtney Williams, SGA adviser, and Donaldson agree executive session is crucial because some things need to stay private.
The purpose of executive session is for planning and where “larger scale decisions are made,” Williams said.
Falotico said he believes executive session allows senators a time to be honest that they wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise.
“So people are comfortable to voice their opinions, everyone can be honest,” Falotico said.
Falotico said he believes SGA is “more effective behind closed doors.”
Falotico said talking about things of little interest is a reason for executive session and that executive session wouldn’t be called for normal things.
Executive session was discussed as being reserved for “internal organization matters” and “technically matters students aren’t concerned with,” Falotico said.
An estimate for the amount of times, given by Falotico, that executive session takes place is between two and three times a semester.
This estimate has already reached its limit. As of Thursday, March 7, executive session has been invoked at least three times this semester.
Executive session: outrage?
Andrew Kettle, Leah Vidayweiss, Alexa Golanka and Allison Cormier agree that executive session decisions are made without student oversight.
Kettle, psychology freshman, said “I don’t see any reason for them to withhold the truth.”
Vidayweiss, history freshman, said she believes SGA should be accountable to students because we elect the representatives.
Golanka, accounting junior and former SGA senator, said she believes the students deserve open meetings.
“It’s our money. We should know what’s going on with it,” Golanka said.
Cormier, political science freshman, said, “I don’t have a choice to give funding, we should be aware of everything that’s going on.”
Victoria Walsh, Gasparri, Hutchinson and Cormier agree that elected representatives should do student work in the light of day.
Walsh, mass communication freshman, said she believes student have the right to know.
“It’s our student government, we deserve to know,” Walsh said.
Isabella Gasparri, music industry study senior said she believes students will benefit from being able to attend all SGA meetings.
“Student body will benefit from hearing all sides of an issue,” Gasparri said.
Mary Kate Hutchinson, mass communication sophomore and previous SGA intern, said she believes that students will benefit from having the opportunity to be more involved with their SGA.