Hi 81 / Lo 62
|Volume 68, Issue 20,
Monday, September 23, 2002
Ed De La Garza
Josh Gajewski Nikie Johnson
Can't we all just get along?
At Wednesday's Student Government Association Senate meeting, the biggest event was not a proposed bill or a spirited discussion of student issues.
Unfortunately, what made the meeting notable was the ruling that Speaker Pro Tempore April Spreeman-Harter was not allowed to speak.
The decision was made by Speaker of the Senate Jeff Hill, who is in charge of running the meetings, and who decided that Spreeman-Harter was too unruly at the previous meeting. For punishment and to keep things running quickly, he announced at the beginning of the meeting that she would not be allowed to speak.
This is not the proper way to take control of meetings. Not in this society, at least. It tainted the rest of the evening's proceedings, and sparked outrage in at least one senator other than Spreeman-Harter.
What did Spreeman-Harter do that was so unruly? She didn't spend hours talking, or start a fight, or get up on a table and dance. She merely asked questions of a visitor to the meeting who was asking for SGA's help for his cause — too many questions, according to Hill.
Granted, the meeting was an especially long one, mostly because of the length of time spent talking to that visitor. But Spreeman-Harter wasn't at fault for that. And even if it had been her fault, there's no way it is a crime worthy of censorship.
Spreeman-Harter is known as an outspoken member of SGA, but that doesn't mean Hill can censor her. Nor does it merit the public way in which Hill went about dealing with what he viewed as a problem. If he wanted her to speak less, he should have confronted her before the meeting.
To protest her treatment, Spreeman-Harter spent the whole meeting raising her hand or standing in silent protest. More power to her.
Her actions during the meeting sent a clear message that she was furious and felt wronged, but now she and the rest of the Senate must find a way to get beyond this and work together.
Standing up (literally) for what you believe in is one thing. But there comes a point when you have to compromise.
If senators let this rift affect them like this for the rest of the year, nothing will be accomplished. They get too much of our student fees for that to happen. They need to show a little maturity and try to work through their differences — and in private this time.
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