SA indefinitely postpones possible CA contract resolution


J. Michael Bertsch, Managing Editor (He/Him)

The Students’ Association Senate voted to postpone Resolution 20-17-R, a resolution focused on altering the Community Assistant contract, indefinitely. This vote effectively killed the motion without taking an official vote on the matter.  

Resolution 20-17-R, “South Dakota State University Students’ Association Senate Requests Better Working Conditions For Our Community Assistants,” focused on a line in the CA contract which states CAs must “complete other duties as assigned keeping in mind that this is a position of service and thus may require more than can be accurately described within this agreement.”

The resolution’s author and prime sponsor, Chief of Staff Rachel Schöön, says that CAs from SDSU came to her about their increased duties. 

“Our constituents, or people we represent, are being put in really difficult working conditions,” Schöön said. “I do believe we need to bring it up and see what we can do to alleviate that.”

The CAs reference added shifts in mailrooms and custodial duties as motivation for the bill. 

Emily Toms, a Senator-at-Large and current CA for Honors and Schultz Halls, made the motion to postpone the resolution indefinitely, saying the resolution was not brought to the attention of Housing and Residential Life before being sent to the Senate floor.

“I think that there are some procedural issues that came about in how this resolution was presented,” Toms said. “Housing and Residential Life has put procedures in place and has been speaking with CAs consistently since early October, when some concerns were originally brought up, and those conversations have produced results.” 

This was echoed by other senators who voted in favor of postponing the resolution indefinitely, including Finance Chair Sarah Cook and Vice President Reis Bruley.

However, Schöön said that members of Residential Life helped her draft the resolution. 

“(Claims that Residential Life was not contacted) are only true if you do not consider CAs a part of Housing and Residential life,” Schöön said. “CAs wrote most of this resolution and were definitely contacted about it.”

Those opposed to postponing the resolution believed that the resolution was worth debating. 

“I don’t get why we’re scared to have this debate,” Sen. Andrew Rasmussen said. “Why can’t we just vote up or down on it. A lot of CAs around campus are feeling that by postponing indefinitely, you’re not allowing us as senators to actually address those concerns … If you don’t like what the bill says, you can vote no on it.”

Bruley opposed that argument, saying he does not believe a precedent should be set for the Students’ Association to discuss contracts. 

The Senate voted 16 to eight in favor of postponing the resolution indefinitely; however, supporters of this resolution believe that it served its purpose. 

“This (extra CA responsibilities) was a huge problem in the fall semester,” Schöön said. “I was expecting it to be fixed by now and it wasn’t completely, there were improvements, but it wasn’t fixed. My expectation from this was to bring about a conversation that really needed to happen, and I’m happy that we succeeded in that.” 

Schöön encourages students to come to her, or other senators, if they are facing issues on campus. 

“If any of my constituents want to bring something again, I’ll be more than happy to do that for them,” Schöön said. “I would also like to reach out to [Housing and Residential Life] and Student Affairs and ask that they make the improvements, even though this didn’t pass.”