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. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

On Oct. 1, the Student Government Association Senate passed legislation in support of Extra Special People’s Dress Down with the Dawgs, modified SGA executive and judicial branch statutes, created a standing budget committee and established a financial code for SGA members.

According to its website, ESP’s mission is to “create opportunities for people with disabilities and their families to engage, connect, and thrive.”

During the open forum section of the meeting, ESP representatives spoke to the Senate about supporting the organization’s Dress Down with the Dawgs campaign. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of Down syndrome by asking football fans to dress casually for the upcoming Georgia-South Carolina game.

ESP has partnered with downtown Georgia apparel store Tailgate, which will be selling t-shirts. Buttons supporting the cause are also for sale.

“It's about realizing that individuals with Down syndrome are first of all individuals who have rights to accessibility, to intervention, education, recreation and just acceptance in social situations,” ESP at UGA President Daniela Conroy said at the Senate meeting.

The Senate unanimously passed Proclamation 32-04 in support of students with Down syndrome. The legislation aims to promote the campaign by encouraging students, faculty and staff at the university to participate.

Allison Fine, Senator for Access and Opportunity and Chair of the Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, said the cause is “close to her heart.” According to Fine, the University of South Carolina Student Government is also set to pass similar legislation. Fine is excited to see “the first time the SEC is competing but also joining together for something so big.”

“This will be a phenomenal opportunity for us to build this relationship of unity with another SEC school, so it's not just a rivalry on this football Saturday, but also an opportunity for us to kind of bridge that gap between students we have here and students at the University of South Carolina,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Matthew McDaniel.

Fine said it’s important for participants to remember that dressing down can look different for everyone. It can be as simple as wearing a football jersey instead of a dress, but the main goal is bringing attention to the reason for dressing down.

Senators also passed two bills modifying the statutes of the executive and judicial branches. Bill 32-05 includes specifications about the SGA president’s rights and limitations concerning cabinet and Executive Board appointments.

Bill 32-06 dealt with the SGA Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over elections code and redefined qualifies as a violation. It states that “active or inactive” SGA members or registered student organizations have the ability to file amicus briefs, which are briefs submitted by third party members to can offer information to the court without being connected in the incident in question.

“If we are to be the voice of every Bulldog, we need to make sure that we're protecting the community as well,” Senator Hunter Smith said.

Members also debated financial codes as they discussed Bill 32-02. The bill requires Senate approval for all allocations and expenditures of SGA funds over $600 and requires any recurring payment by SGA or any associated accounts be approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The bill includes other limitations and guidelines on financial allocations and specifications about member dues. The bill was passed in a roll call vote.

Last on the agenda was Bill 32-03, legislation to establish a standing senate committee on budget and appropriations. After a brief question period, the bill was passed and the committee was created. A senator will be appointed as head of the committee in the upcoming weeks.

Also mentioned at the meeting during updates from the executive board was the social honor code initiative headed by Vice President Melissa Hevener. A forum met on Oct. 3 from 5-6 p.m. where students involved on campus through various organizations gathered to share their ideas about a type of social honor code.

Such an honor code would be a type of motto that incorporates the student body’s idea of how students should behave. Hevener hopes the code will represent the views of as many students as possible. For now, she is focusing on slowly expanding the initiative to gradually include more opinions.

“We only have a limited number of perspectives, we can't possibly know all the perspectives and insights and experiences of 38,000 students,” she said. “This is a great chance for more perspectives to be drawn to the conversation so that we can look at some perspectives that maybe aren't always heard.”

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