Senate leaves Student Federation

The Students’ Association has left the Student Federation.

Student Federation is the representative body for all South Dakota Board of Regents institutions for state legislation and other issues regarding South Dakota universities.

The decision was made automatically because SA ran out of time, according to an SA ordinance approved last spring.

The ordinance read that if sufficient changes weren’t made to Student Federation bylaws to better represent the interests of South Dakota State University in the Student Federation by Oct. 4, 2016, then SDSU would leave the organization.

During the Student Federation meeting Oct. 4, such changes were made that would persuade senators to stay in the federation. This included a constitutional change to have student governments only lobby on legislative issues receiving consensus from the Student Federation and a budget structure for a flat-rate fee.

But in Monday night’s meeting, senators voted against extending the deadline past the Student Federation meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Senator Amanda Dickinson, representing the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, said threatening to leave the organization was a good “bargaining chip” to get the changes SA demanded.

“I just wish that we knew all of the information about … [the Student Federation] meeting before pulling out,” Dickinson said.

Reasons some senators decided to vote against extending the deadline included financial concerns.

Other senators argued at the meeting that the Student Federation shows solidarity between all SDBOR institutions and served as a way for the colleges to communicate with each other.

“We are a big voice, but being behind the Student Federation would give us a bigger ‘oomph’ on what stance we take,” Dickinson said.

University of South Dakota’s student government joined SA’s stance last spring, saying that if SDSU left the Student Federation, then they would as well. Together, the two universities make up more than half of all students attending SDBOR institutions.

Now that the changes have been made but SA left the Student Federation, Dickinson predicts a resolution will be brought forward at the next SA meeting to rejoin the organization.

“If it is brought forward I will be one of the supporters for it as long as satisfactory changes have been met,” Dickinson said.

Other bills discussed at the Oct. 3 meeting included Resolution 16-03-R: SDSU Students’ Association Support for 24-Hour Access to Briggs Library for Graduate Students and Amendment 16-01-A: An Amendment to restrict the number of voting members able to sponsor legislation.

Kristi Tornquist, library representative, spoke to senators about the resolution and extending library hours.

“The library is interested in having a 24-hour access for all students, not just graduates,” Tornquist said.

The resolution failed, but Tornquist said the resolution will be discussed at the next Library Committee meeting.

Reservations toward approving the resolution included the extra costs in leaving the library open later, staffing concerns and the time it would take to put together the 24-hour access.

A possible solution for 24-access proposed at the meeting was to make a private study area open instead of having the whole library open to students.

Amendment 16-01-A addressed ways legislation can be brought forward to senators ahead of time. With enough senators sponsoring legislation, the bills would be approved without debate.

Vice President Lane Spiers said the amendment isn’t supposed to discourage people from voicing their opinions in a “healthy debate.”

The amendment failed.

The next SA meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the Lewis and Clark room located on the Upper Level of The Union. There will not be a meeting next week because of the Native American Day holiday on Oct. 10.