By: Wendy-Akua Adjei; The Whetstone
Some of the Student Government Association’s board said they had a hard time acclimating themselves in their jobs because they weren’t trained properly by the previous board.
“The previous SGA wanted to train us, and I think some of them went out of their way to do that, but others were kind of lacking in that sense,” Brooke Retkowski, SGA secretary, said.
This year’s board is trying to make up for last year’s SGA’s problems. Early in the spring semester, three members resigned from their positions, including President Jamal Earls, Secretary Myasia Davis and Treasurer Autumn Brown.
The new board members include President Toluwanimi Babalola, Vice President Sarah Fryer, Treasurer Logan Wilson, Chief of Staff Joshua Harris, and Secretary Brooke Retkowski.
When the previous Student Government Association President Jamal Earls resigned, Vice President Da’Shaylyn Barnes became the president.
Babalola was supposed to meet with Barnes to complete his transition process. Retkowski was supposed to meet with Christina Roe, who had stepped into the secretary position after Davis had resigned.
Although the former SGA board tried, Retkowski said the training sessions were not long enough and did not have all of the information pertaining to the positions.
“I met with Da’Shaylyn once for about 5-10 minutes,” Babalola said.
The problems with the SGA are continuing, said Benjamin Janocha, the president of the club of performing arts.
“When I went to my first SGA meeting this semester, it was very unproductive and unorganized,” he said.
The Zeta Phi Beta president said the present SGA board temporarily jeopardized her organization’s conference.
“The first couple of EIFs we had turned in were awaiting signatures from SGA,” said Kierra Whitaker, president of Zeta Phi Beta. “We needed the EIF signed in a timely manner due to the fact that if we did not sign up in time for our event the price would go up.”
This too was another example of the current board’s lack of training, Retkowski said,
“At the beginning of the semester, we had no idea that we had to pick the EIFs up from the mailroom,” she said.
Event information forms (EIF) are supposed to be filled out by students’ organizations when they want to have an event. The EIFs are handed over to Naomi Rubin, who sends the forms to the mailroom where the SGA secretary should pick them up. The SGA president and treasurer must sign off on the forms. These forms are returned to Rubin.
Retkowski said that although some on the former board tried to educate the new members, some very important things like the EIF process were not properly explained.
Black Student Union President Rex Chege said he can tell the SGA wasn’t trained properly.
“That falls on the previous SGA board and the adviser,” he said. “They are just now becoming situated with their jobs and it should not be like that, especially if they have an adviser that has been doing this for years.”
SGA adviser Dr. Jack Barnhardt said training is the job of the new and old SGA members.
“When a new board is elected, they are told to arrange meetings with the old board,” he said. “Not just as a group, but also to meet with whoever was in their specific positions. So treasurer meets with treasurer and so on. But that is up to those students to do, so I don’t know to what extent that happened this time.”
Retkowski said she met with the former secretary for about half an hour.
“I wish I could have shadowed her so I would have understood the position better,” she said.
Retkowski said she was at first not worried and thought she knew exactly what her position entailed. It wasn’t until further into the semester when she realized she did not know all the information she needed.
Some students said the SGA is slacking, and the number of meetings they are holding this semester is an example of this.
“I just think they are being lazy and they want to be in and out because the meetings only last 20-25 minutes at most,” said Brielle Braxton-Young, president of the national society of minorities in hospitality. “Then they switched everything up to where the Congress only meet twice a month.”
SGA Congress meetings are for all students not just student organization leaders. There are cabinet meetings for presidents of organizations. Budget committee meetings are for all the organizations’ treasurers.
Retkowski said the SGA decided to hold Congress meetings twice a month because these meetings were only being attended by student organizations and there was nothing to discuss.
She said the SGA decided if it spaced out the meetings there might be more to discuss, and perhaps more students would attend.
Retkowski said she sends all the emails to students from the SGA board. She has been adding more visuals to their emails and revamped their social media page hoping to grab students’ attention.