By Mattie Fitzpatrick | December 4, 2023
Photo Credit: Mattie Fitzpatrick / The ASP
Senator Dylan Klein called for the resignation of Senate Chair Erin McGrath on Wednesday, Dec. 4, during the Student Association (SA) Senate Meeting, the final meeting of the fall semester. Senator Klein elaborated citing an incident where her personal bias impacted professional decisions during interviews for committee assignments this semester.
Senator Klein expressed that if Senate Chair McGrath, who was absent at the meeting due to personal health concerns, did not step down, he would consider resigning his position as Senator. Senator Klein also questioned Vice Chair Sarah Jamil’s competency and ethics in completing the tasks of her position.
This was a point of contention throughout the meeting which culminated in Vice Chair Jamil leaving the room hastily with Senator Klein and a number of others following.
A disturbance could be heard out in the hall during this time but the senate meeting resumed shortly after.
“I was coming into the room with the plan to resign…I believe Senator McGrath has worked antithetical to everything that she ran on as chair” Senator Klein said.
This was the last meeting for Senators Jalen Miller, Fiona Facciolonga, Shane Gardner and Timothy O’Toole. They are resigning at the end of the semester because of internships. They were commemorated with knocks, SA’s version of a clap, by their fellow senators.
The controversial Student Association Educational Amendment Act was passed which redefined the language of the GPA requirement imposed on Senate members. “We are striking the GPA requirement because this is not a requirement that aligns with our University,” Senator Klein said.
“You should be a student first and if you aren’t able to keep your GPA above a 2.0 then you need to be focusing on that. It is unfair for us to ask you to focus on something other than that," Senator Selwa Khan said in opposition of the bill.
An additional Agenda Reordering bill was presented that sought to reorganize the agenda in the interest of the efficiency of meetings. The language was changed as well from chair to proceeding chair since the chair is not always present. Conversation ensued over this bill, however, as Senator Klein believed that general members of the public should not be included in public comment. He argued that those who pay the student activity fee, nearly all UAlbany students, should be prioritized over general members of the public. This bill passed with 18 “yes” votes, two “no” votes and two abstentions.
A number of positions were voted on and filled during this meeting. Isabella Blauvelt Mercado was confirmed as the Elections Commission effective immediately for the 2023-2024 academic year with one “no” vote, two abstentions, and 22 “yes” votes.
Senator Mike Regatiero was nominated to be the chair for the Rules and Administration Committee which oversees the internal operations of the SA Senate and oversees changes to SA policy. Additionally Senator Emma Rennard was nominated to chair the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Government Operations (SOGO) with Senator Luke Johnson as ranking member. This bill was passed with 25 “yes” votes, and one “no” vote.
Senator Ethan Madappatt was confirmed as the chair of the Ethics Committee with 24 affirmative votes.
Committee Leadership was passed by unanimous consent which outlines the responsibilities and processes of ranking chairs in the absence of the chair.
Gabby Holness was nominated to serve as a member of the University Auxiliary Service which was passed with 25 “yes” votes, and one “no” vote.
The Senate heard three appropriations requests, all from the New and Unfunded line. Generation Vote ($267), Students for Justice in Palestine ($267), and the Afro-Latinx Student Organization ($267) all had their requests granted.