Student Government (SG) Senate passed a new code of ethics, decorum and professionalism, among other new additions to SG statutes, at its meeting Tuesday, though wording of the documents was highly contested by senators.
Sen. Daniel McInerney authored chapters 209 through 213, which were added to Statutes Title II Membership, Powers and Services. He said there was a pre-existing document on ethics, but it was not the document they wanted.
“It was there before it said SG code of ethics and professionalism,” McInerney said. “Then, it had a line underneath that said no member of SG should be late for a meeting, and then after that, it said no employee of SG should say this, but that doesn’t apply to everybody; that doesn’t apply to a senator because a senator’s not an employee. It doesn’t apply to volunteers or anything like that.”
The greatest debate stemmed from Chapter 213, Impeachment Proceedings, which now states that any student at USF can file a letter to impeach any member of SG, so long as they get signatures from three senators.
An amendment was suggested by Sen. Rachel Brown to require students to obtain 300 signatures from fellow students, in addition to three signatures from senators. She said she originally planned to make it 150 signatures, but changed it under the encouragement of Senate Pro Tempore Khalid Hassouneh.
Ultimately, her amendment was voted down.
Hassouneh said impeachment should be a reserved power of SG.
“My concern is you could make it 100, you could make it 1,000, it’s still signatures,” he said, during the meeting. “My personal opinion, impeachment is something that is a power of a senator, it is something retained by an elected official.”
Brown said that was realistic and made a move to further amend the document to reflect her original intention of 150 signatures.
“I think we wish we could all be worth our constituency, but that is ridiculous,” she said, during the meeting. “I’m a senator, and I don’t even think I could get 300 signatures.”
Sen. Brian Goff also felt 300 was excessive.
“I’m not for this, first of all it only takes 50 signatures even to get in Senate, so to require 300 signatures to even have the possibility to get out of office seems a little ridiculous,” he said during the meeting. “I don’t see why anyone should be doing anything wrong in the first place.”
The motion to amend the document to require 300 signatures failed, a second motion for the same amendment with 150 subsequently failed and the original language of the document only requiring three senator signatures was retained.
The final code of ethics was passed with 40 yes votes and one abstention.