Bylaw violation cited in supreme court petition


Alexandra Meyer | Northern Star(Left to right) Jewel Stephens, Black Student Union treasurer, BSU Vice President Corey Turner and BSU President Adewale Adetunji talk to Student Association senators at the SA Senate meeting Sunday. The BSU’s request for supplemental funding sparked debate, with senators arguing if the group’s request met the requirements for the SA to provide the organization with supplemental funding.

By Jackie Nevarez

A junior political science major hopes his petition to the Student Association Supreme Court will educate SA Senators on the organization’s bylaws.

Joseph Palmer, who was appointed director of Public Affairs for the 2014-2015 academic year by the SA Senate Sunday, filed a petition Wednesday requesting the SA Supreme Court hold a hearing to interpret the constitution and bylaws of the SA and rule on the constitutionality of action taken by the SA Senate members in regard to the supplemental funding provided to the Black Student Union.

On April 6, SA Senate passed a resolution providing BSU with $8,925 in supplemental funding. The resolution passed with 17 yeas and 15 nays.

“I think it’s just high time that the Student Association Senate started reading the bylaws which govern them,” Palmer said. “That’s not to say that they always don’t read them, but there’s been a lot of allegations back and forth from a number of different organizations saying that, you know, the SA only follows the bylaws when it’s convenient for them or their lack of following them has some sort of motivation behind it.”

In the petition, Palmer cited two arguments. The first said the BSU “is not an SA recognized governing body as per approved SA bylaws and thus does not have the constitutional right to apply for funding on behalf of other SA recognized student organizations.” The petition states BSU President Adewale Adetunji “unintentionally or otherwise” led SA senators to believe the BSU should be considered an umbrella organization, meaning it governs other student organizations.

The BSU executive board did not respond to requests for comment.

SA Senator Alonte Holliday, who voted for the supplemental funding resolution, said other groups that asked for supplemental funding did not face as much opposition as BSU did when representatives presented their case. On March 23, the Bass Fishing Club received $16,000 in supplemental funding from SA Senate to buy a boat for competitions.

“At the end of the day, the reason I voted for the issue was because [BSU was] trying to do a good thing for the campus … . We gave $16,000 to [the Bass Fishing Club] for a boat and we can’t give funding for a group that is pretty much trying to help the campus out,” Holliday said.

Palmer’s second argument said the members of SA Senate “knowingly, unconstitutionally voted to provide supplemental funding to the BSU for requests” which Palmer argues do not agree with SA’s finance policies.

SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke said the senators all had valid points for their votes and changes to the bylaws are not necessary.

“That’s the reason why bylaws are supposed to be vague, is so that they’re open for interpretation,” Domke said. “I am not in the position to decide whether they are for or against the bylaws.”

Holliday said he wasn’t aware of the petition and felt the filing of the petition was “terrible.”

“As I understand, I may be wrong, but there is like a check,” Holliday said. “They have to present what they’re trying to do to someone before they can even present in front of Senate.”

SA President Jack Barry declined to comment.

“I think it’s time to just kind of set the record straight, and I think the [SA] Supreme Court is a good way of going about that,” Palmer said. “Make it known that this is what the bylaws are and this is how you follow them.”