SGA drama overshadows policy impact on student life

An+understocked+Iggy%E2%80%99s+Cupboard++lies+in+the+basement+of+the+Danna+Center.+The+cupboard+is+low+on+current+supplies+and+needs+restocking+as+the+new+semester+approaches.+Photo+credit%3A+Hannah+Renton
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SGA drama overshadows policy impact on student life

An understocked Iggy’s Cupboard  lies in the basement of the Danna Center. The cupboard is low on current supplies and needs restocking as the new semester approaches. Photo credit: Hannah Renton

An understocked Iggy’s Cupboard lies in the basement of the Danna Center. The cupboard is low on current supplies and needs restocking as the new semester approaches. Photo credit: Hannah Renton

An understocked Iggy’s Cupboard lies in the basement of the Danna Center. The cupboard is low on current supplies and needs restocking as the new semester approaches. Photo credit: Hannah Renton

An understocked Iggy’s Cupboard lies in the basement of the Danna Center. The cupboard is low on current supplies and needs restocking as the new semester approaches. Photo credit: Hannah Renton

Kaylie Saidin

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Last week, the Student Government Association senate here at Loyola unanimously passed three policies. One initiative was to create a $1,500 per semester funding allocation from the budget to Iggy’s Cupboard, an on-campus food shelf for students facing food insecurity. A second was to place donation bins for Iggy’s Cupboard in residence halls. A third was to push for discussion with Tulane’s SGA about a potential Blue Bikes bike-share on both campuses.

However, initially, SGA President Sierra Ambrose vetoed each of these initiatives within 24 hours after the senate passed them. According to bylaws, the SGA President has a full three days to review and approve or veto initiatives. Ambrose vetoed all three of these initiatives within a day.

Her quick response of denial left many senate and community members confused and seeking answers. Despite every member of the senate passing these initiatives, Ambrose chose to strike them down.

At the senate meeting this Wednesday, Ambrose had a chance to explain herself.

She apologized for her hasty decisions on the initiatives and took responsibility for what she called a “misunderstanding.” Ambrose noted that she was given loads of legislation to work through at once. She gave permission to the senate to override her vetoes multiple times and described the situation as a “learning opportunity” for all parties involved.

Ambrose allegedly spoke with one senator about the legislation before vetoing it, then stated repeatedly that she didn’t ask anyone else because she “trusted” this senator. This mysterious senator remained anonymous, but what is clear is that she did not speak to Heather Malveaux, who is in charge of Iggy’s Cupboard and is on the Food Insecurity Committee. She also did not talk to Kyle Barden, the senator who authored the Iggy’s Cupboard bill.

She claimed that she vetoed the blue-bike initiative because she felt there needed to be more detail in legislation surrounding location, cost and communication with Tulane SGA. She stated she was unaware that Kristen Williams, a senator-at-large, had been working on the Blue Bike bike-share with Tulane for an extended period of time prior to the introduction of the initiative.

She claimed that she vetoed the donation bins in residence halls for Iggy’s Cupboard because she believed that another organization had already put out donation bins. Another organization had indeed placed bins, but they were temporary.

Finally, she claimed to have vetoed the funding allocation initiative to Iggy’s Cupboard because she was worried it would take money away from other areas of SGA, specifically money allocated to the president and vice president for their meal plans and housing. This is not the case – while there are talks to lessen the stipend for president and vice president in the coming year, the funding for Iggy’s Cupboard would come from a different place and is unrelated.

The meeting felt tense. It often seemed that the president and the vice president, Joann Cassama, were talking issues out together for the first time – and in front of an audience. Cassama and Ambrose both admitted that Ambrose does not attend senate meetings due to a interfering class.

When we spoke to Ambrose, she stated that communication between her and the rest of the SGA had “not been the best, and is still not the best. It’s more-so like me, and then everybody else.” She stated she didn’t know the reason for this, and also expressed there were times she felt attacked at Tuesday’s executive meeting.

Last week we criticized lack of communication from SGA to the student body. But at Wednesday night’s senate meeting, it became clear that SGA does not even communicate within themselves.

This discrepancy reveals how much of a disservice this SGA administration has been to the student body. They still do not have a clear path of communication and have allowed breakdowns in communication to not only affect their relationships with one another, but to also affect legislation that impacts 48 percent of the student body who are food insecure.

A disservice was also done to the senate, who passed and passed again these initiatives unanimously with proper communication. Only four senators will be returning to SGA next semester, bringing into question the effect this breakdown will continue to have on future SGA administrations.

We have 21 days until the next president signs in, and in these last three weeks, we implore our current administration to get their s— together.

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