SA debates about debating

Makenzie Huber, News Editor

Students and senators pushed for the Students’ Association to set aside its bylaws to vote on a timely resolution regarding House Bill 1008, or more commonly known as the “transgender bathroom bill.” The bylaws were not set aside.

Resolution 15-19-R, opposed a bill going through the South Dakota Legislature regarding the use of bathrooms in public school according to a student’s biological sex. The resolution was introduced to the Students’ Association at its Monday, Feb. 29 meeting.

Since HB 1008 would be signed or vetoed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard the next day, March 1, a motion was made to wave the SA bylaws, which required two full readings of resolutions before they are voted on.

Students representing Gay Straight Alliance, Black Students Association as well as a member of the Brookings Community attended the meeting and encouraged senators to wave the bylaws.

The motion to suspend the bylaws for the resolution failed by one vote, but there was still discussion over whether to suspend the bylaws and how the bill would affect students at South Dakota State University if passed by Gov. Daugaard.

To see more information and discussion from the SA meeting on Resolution 15-19-R see Students, Senate react to ‘transgender bathroom bill.’

The Senate unanimously voted in favor of two other resolutions at its meeting.

Resolution 15-17-R supported efforts made by the university to increase staff to address student health.

The main purpose of the resolution was to discuss mental health on campus, said Sen. Robert McLean.

“This is crucial for a campus our size, for any campus no matter the size,” Sen. McLean said about the benefits of adding staff. “Overall it just helps in a healthy campus, a healthy environment.”

Resolution 15-18-R requested an “adequate” Easter Break. The resolution would support break being extended to the Monday after the holiday.

“It makes more logistical sense to have Monday off,” Vice President Dahle said in support of extending the break.

If the request was accepted, there would have to be days traded off from other parts of the year to keep to the academic calendars already set in place. So instead of adding one more day to the end of the school year, a day from another break during the year would be switched to take place of the requested Monday off.

Another resolution received a first reading. Resolution 15-20-R supported international flags being hung in The Union.

Administrative Assistant Ally Helms and Sen. Lane Speirs were nominated for SA president and vice president, respectively.

In the Open Forum portion of the meeting, Brookings City Council Candidate Edward Ballou addressed the Senate about why he decided to run for city council.

A representative from the Wellness Center also gave a Heart Math demonstration during the Open Forum.

The Heart Math program is a way the Student Health Clinic and Counseling Services monitors students’ stress and anxiety levels, which are the top two reasons students drop out of college according to the Wellness Center budget proposal.

The Wellness Center requested funding to pilot the program for the next fiscal year. The funds requested were $20,000.

The next SA meeting will be Monday, March 14 at 7 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark room in The Union.