The WAC-SGA Breakup: “It was mutual”

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The Student Government Association presented legislations Monday that call for the separation of the Western Activities Council from SGA. Student administrators suggest that the changes are meant to distinguish the goals and guidelines of the two institutions.

“Basically, the reason this is happening is that we decided that WAC and SGA, at their core, serve two very different missions,” SGA Executive Vice President Brad Stanton said during Monday’s meeting. “WAC is to provide activities to the university, whereas student government is to provide governance, to provide funding [to students] and to provide funding for the university.”

The mission of the two groups isn’t the only area they differ. Stanton points out that they also differ in operating structure.

“SGA is very formal, SGA is very ‘here’s our structure,’ whereas WAC is… structured more towards getting activities done,” Stanton said.

Though SGA is the agency removing WAC from SGA, senate and executive members make a point to say that the change is a cooperative decision between the two.

“We’ve been meeting and, at retreat, there was the talk that Western Activities Council would be separating from Student Government Association,” Ida Haefner, SGA president, said. “This past week, we’ve come to the decision that this will happen.”

The legislations FY16-19 and FY16-20 both act to split WAC from SGA. FY16-19 removes WAC from SGA bylaws, the set of guidelines by which SGA operates. FY16-20, though, removes WAC from the SGA constitution.

Though SGA holds the right to adjust their bylaws, a vote of the students is required to reflect the change in the SGA constitution. The vote to amend the SGA constitution will be taken as students vote for homecoming candidates, Oct. 14-15.

This separation is not unique to Western. Jessica Frogge, SGA administrative assistant, suggests that Western is actually behind on the times as compared to other universities.

“All of the universities I’ve talked to unanimously have their activities association separate from their student government,” Frogge said.

Though the policy change is big news for the student administration, SGA representatives suggest that the average student won’t experience anything different.

“To the student, they’re probably not going to notice a lot of difference,” Frogge said. “To SGA, it’s one less thing that technically, probably shouldn’t fall under them anyway.”

The first reading of legislation is meant to settle any confusion and answer any questions regarding new policies. However, the two legislations were read at Monday’s meeting without a single inquiry into them.

It wasn’t until Student Governor Lionel Attawia asked that the bills be explained further for anyone in the gallery who may have misunderstood that someone engaged the legislations.

Senators did, however, have a rather heated discussion regarding changing the SGA seal to reflect the new potential policy. WAC is currently embedded into the SGA seal. If the legislations pass, a new seal for SGA will be drafted.

Though the SGA Executive Board is confident that the policy changes will pass, the bills must still be voted on before any changes take place. Until the bills are voted on, WAC will remain a broad committee of SGA.

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