Thursday, April 6, 2000
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Volume 65, Issue 127

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SGA Senate gets under way

Former president urges new officials to work together

By Jim Parsons and Natalie Yeats
Daily Cougar Staff

The balance of power in the Student Government Association shifted peacefully Wednesday evening as former SGA officials said their goodbyes and urged the new administration to focus on the good of the University, not members' individual feelings.

"The best thing to do at this time is just to move on," said former President Tom Cassidy.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Former Student Government Association President Tom Cassidy urged the new SGA Senate to put aside any personal divisions and work together for the students at Wednesday's meeting, the new administration's first.

Rumors circulating this week hinted at a demonstration opposing new President James Robertson Jr.'s decision to be sworn Monday, which some saw as a slap in the face of the previous administration.

The former officials had planned their final Senate meeting for Wednesday, apparently expecting Robertson would wait until after the meeting to take office. The SGA Constitution stipulates that the new president's term begins the first Monday in April.

On Wednesday, Cassidy told senators to forgive and forget. He said his main concern was to keep "cutthroat politics" out of the student government.

"James, you need to work with these people," he told the new president. "If you don't work with them, you're not going to achieve anything."

In other business, the Senate took nominations for its new speaker of the Senate. Former Speaker Justin Ray accepted a nomination, but the other nominee, Business Sen. Richard Russell, did not. Russell said he believed a division among senators existed because of his nomination.

"It is my opinion that too much selfish interest has crept into this decision," he said. "This nomination stands to ruin everything I have represented to you and the University."

The speaker will be elected at the next Senate meeting.

The new Senate also passed its first bill, creating a Handicap Exploratory Committee to conduct a week-long investigation in conjunction with the Center for Students with Disabilities to ensure that all campus facilities are handicap accessible.

Robertson nominated Kim Webb, this year's election commissioner, for SGA director of public relations. After discussion over whether the Senate should advertise the job opening because it is a paid position, the motion was tabled.

Robertson also nominated Andy Steinke for The Honors College Senate seat. The position became available when Sen. Steve Shardonofsky resigned.

The Senate will next meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the University Center.

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