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A shot of the Student Government Association logo sign at the 2019 SGA Inauguration on Apr. 9, 2019 at the University of Georgia Chapel in Athens, Georgia. The Empower ticket was sworn into office along with senator-elects. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

On Tuesday night, University of Georgia Student Government Association senators appointed three new associate justices and passed legislation regarding a new student organization, campus safety and a required mental health statement in all syllabi.

President of the Senate Max Sumner discussed his work with student government associations at other colleges in the southeast so that “our impact is broader than even at UGA,” he said.

Sumner hopes to find ways to get involved on shared initiatives, such as a possible Dress Down day in support of Down syndrome awareness in partnership with Extra Special People for the Oct. 12 football game with the University of South Carolina.

All committee chairs gave a report on the status of their initiatives and goals at the beginning of the meeting.

Chief Justice Evan Oliver swore in Associate Supreme Court Justices Imani Davis, Peter Hess and Noora Chandasir, who will serve to ensure senators uphold the SGA constitution when passing legislation and voting on bills, amendments and resolutions.

“We had about 21 applicants for Associate Justices, and we picked three, so it was very competitive and these three people stood out amongst them all,” Oliver said. “I’m really excited to serve with [them] on the court.”

After the swearing in, senators introduced and voted on legislation.

First on the docket was the passage of proclamation 32-02, the creation of RISE — Rural students Igniting Success and Education — a student organization that provides students from a rural background with a sense of community at UGA.

“I’m from a small town in south Georgia, and the transition from that to UGA was not an easy transition,” said RISE president and former senator for the College of Public Health Briana Hayes. “I wanted to use my position in SGA last year to help other rural students that had to make that hard transition.”

The organization’s first meeting will be held Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. in Tate 141. RISE aims to create strong social and academic networks for rural students, but anyone can attend.

“It’s really an honor to be able to have a student organization pop out of SGA like this, and to serve a population of our university that is sometimes overlooked,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Matthew McDaniel, who is a sponsor of the bill.

Proclamation 32-03 and resolution 32-02 aim to improve campus safety. The proclamation thanks UGA administration for investing $2 million into lighting across campus and making campus safety and security a top priority, said Committee on Campus Safety Chair Sam Bryant.

Resolution 32-02 lays out SGA’s priorities for the distribution of the $2 million. Bryant and McDaniel hope to use a portion of the money to introduce LED lights across campus and in popular locations that are dimly lit, such as areas behind Creswell and the Oglethorpe House crosswalk.

Resolution 32-04, authored by Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion chair senator Allison Fine and Committee on Statutes and Procedures chair senator Patrick Femia, proposes the addition of a mental health section to all UGA syllabi. The resolution proposes UGA faculty add a statement that informs students about mental wellness resources available to them through the university. The resolution must go through multiple university committees and receive approval from the University Council before it can be implemented, according to Feima.

While working on language for the resolution, Fine explained that a professor told her how mentioning mental health services in his syllabus lead to students informing him of problems they were experiencing.

“I’ve spoken to students, and some of their professors already have statements similar to this on their syllabus,” Fine said. “We’re hoping that by having a more uniform statement and having it on every syllabus that every student has access to understanding what is offered.”


Olivia Adams contributed to this article.

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