In a split decision, SGA failed a bill providing $17,500 in funding for the LeaderShape retreat to be held next August. Graduate Senators and Undergraduate Representatives debated the amount that would be allocated for each student attending and the impact the activity has on campus. LeaderShape is a week-long leadership experience organized by the Office of Student Involvement and facilitated by LeaderShape Inc., a non-profit company which runs other versions of the program around the nation. Forty-five students travel to Dahlonega, Ga. to develop leadership and vision.
During the GSS meeting Tuesday morning, graduates questioned Assistant Dean of Student Involvement Danielle McDonald about the purpose of the $17,500. She explained that it would go to paying LeaderShape Inc. to run the program.
“[T]he main expenditure of the bill was basically a black-box with a massive dollar amount attached to it….We don’t like to dole out that much money without a better accounting of where it is going,” said AE Sen. Will Runge, one of the chief critics of the bill.
Senators also paused at the large cost of the bill in light of the relatively small number of people going. CHEM Sen. Arren Washington successfully moved to amend the amount to $250 per person from the original $390 per person, an amount equal to the funds graduate students receive from SGA to attend conferences.
Proponents of the bill, including CE Sen. Aaron Greenwood, attempted to convince Senators of the impact the program has on campus. Still, the bill was defeated 11-20-1.
“I understand the Senate’s position on the bill,” Greenwood said. “I am disappointed, however, that they would not fund something that has such an impact on campus.”
During UHR later that night, Dean McDonald and seven former attendees of LeaderShape presented the bill. The undergraduates discussed many of the same topics that the graduates had, with HTS Rep. Kaitlyn Whiteside leading opposition to the bill. She called the fee “exorbitant” during debate and called for the development of a Tech-centered program.
Several representatives spoke in favor of passing the bill, with many reps reporting that they had received a larger than normal number of emails and phone calls from constituents. The House eventually passed the bill 25-23-3, but this was not enough to override GSS’s decision because it did not meet the enactment ratio. The bill failed at that point.
The Undergraduate House filed articles of impeachment against a senior Aerospace Representative who was accused of missing more than three meetings of the House and thereby exceeding the number of allowed absences. The rep. was not present at the meeting. Executive Vice President Brenda Morales said that the representative had been notified of the charges against him.
Morales called the representatives into executive session, meaning that all non-representatives were asked to leave the room while the House commenced impeachment proceedings. Technique reporter Mike Donohue refused to leave the room, stating the House chair could not unilaterally call the house into executive session. Donohue also stated that under the Georgia Open Meetings Act, the UHR could not move into executive session. UHR then voted with quorum to move the meeting into executive session. According to Morales, who cited Robert’s Rules, matters relating to disciplinary procedure should be discussed in executive session.
The UHR elected a Sergeant-at-Arms to escort Donohue out of the meeting. During the executive session, the House impeached the Representative, held a hearing and voted to expel the Representative from the House.