Students will vote for a referendum to change the Student Government Association (SGA) Student Constitution’s definition of “division government” today, which, if passed, would allow SGA to designate the Graduate Student Government Association (Grad SGA) as the division government for Emory graduate schools.
SGA attorney general and College junior Kristin Bielling wrote in an e-mail to the Wheel that division governments are presently defined in the constitution as being limited to representing one school, and altering the definition “allows [SGA] the discretion to determine whether a division shall represent one school or multiple schools.” She added that if more than half of students voting approve the amendment, the change will go into effect.
The referendum, if it passes, would allow Grad SGA to centralize graduate student representation into a single entity rather than individual Student Government Associations of each individual graduate school. The individual SGAs world become chartered student organizations, Bielling said, and would additionally be in charge of programming and advocacy for individual graduate schools.
More than half of students voting must approve the amendment to the constitution, and SGA would have the authority to bring about this change. Bielling wrote that the idea of this change came about because Grad SGA and presidents of division governments at Emory have expressed interest in establishing a plan for Grad SGA to serve as the division government for graduate students.
“It would just allow Grad SGA to become the administrative body of the graduate organization and allow the current school division to act as what they have historically acted as, like programming bodies,” said SGA President and Goizueta Business School senior Beth Brandt.
According to Bielling, as the division government for graduate students, Grad SGA would assume many of the functions currently performed by student governments of the individual graduate schools, including chartering student organizations, budgeting a portion of the Student Activity Fee and processing reimbursements.
“SGA seeks to make this change as the...Grad SGA and presidents of graduate division governments at Emory University have expressed interest in implementing a plan that allows Grad SGA to serve as the division government for graduate students,” Bielling wrote.
Brandt said it makes sense to pass the referendum since “a lot of the largest graduate initiatives tend to be pragmatic in nature.”
Grad SGA would not have the ability to alter the number of representatives in the legislature without the consent of the SGA legislature.
Any student of the University will be eligible to vote from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today by following a link that will be sent to all students. Students can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding the voting process.
Staff Writer Madeline Kahn contributed reporting
— Contact Jordan Friedman.