After confirming nine members, SGA finally strikes down Checks and Balances Act

Senators meeting on Jan. 30

Will Sanchez | Contributing Writer

It’s been a busy two weeks for FIU’s student government.

On Monday, Jan. 23, senators confirmed nine new members:

  • Alisha Loiseau for CASE Senator 
  • Paulina Marin for CASE Senators
  • Sarwar Minar for Graduate Senator
  • Jabari Baptiste for BBC Housing Senator
  • Imani Doss for BBC Upper Division Senator
  • Alexander Cobas for Elections Board Member
  • Persia Naseri for Associate Justice
  • Nor Kassar for Student Advocate
  • Stomochi Dike for Director of Social Media and Marketing

Confirmations ended up taking up an hour and a half not because of the speeches, but instead due to the countless objections made by a handful of senators who took issue with a contentious piece of legislation that has been plaguing SGA for weeks: the Checks and Balances Act. 

While Alexander Sutton, the senate president and main sponsor of this bill, attempted multiple times to “get on with business” on Jan. 23, these efforts were ultimately thwarted by a few senators who seemed to be following the lead of CASE senator Delano Cicconi. 

Cicconi himself even admitted that he would prefer the nine candidates wait until next week for their confirmation, accusing Sutton of being “controlled” by Lugo, challenging his leadership skills, claiming he was attempting to pack the senate for voting on the Checks and Balances Act. 

“You think you are our master, but you are our servant,” Cicconi said during one of many speeches. 

However, the bill, which would decentralize the power of the SGA and allow students to be more involved in student government, was discussed as originally scheduled at the following session on Jan. 30. 

The bill had a total of seven amendments focused primarily on the transitions of power, who decides which governor vacancies to fill in BBC Campus, relinquishing GPA requirements for new students at FIU who wish to join SGA, and having a three-quarters vote of all students who voted in the previous election to overrule a veto. 

After a lengthy session the bill was voted down, with the final vote count being 16 – 14.

Many senators expressed relief after the ending of this whole ordeal, including SIPA senator Kaily LaChapelle, who expressed a desire to push SGA to focus more on issues such as housing, inflation, and dorm costs. 

In an interview with PantherNOW, Senate President Sutton said that part of his frustrations arose from working against, not with, people on his executive board. 

“ The pro temp and the senate president are supposed to be…a team, and what it seems to be…de facto we lead separate factions that are about the same size,” said Sutton, “and when you’re trying to get something that needs a two-thirds vote, that’s not gonna happen unless both factions are on board. ” 

Sutton hopes that though the bill was voted down this time, that it could make a return. 

“I think the reason all of it failed is because we voted all of it on as a whole…a lot of people want to get away from this more procedural stuff,” Sutton said, “and get more into resolutions that concern student life.”

“I certainly think they should be brought back. . . but we’ll see.”

With the Checks and Balances Act finally being stricken down, and many of its sponsors including senate president Alexander Sutton, ready to move on with more pressing matters concerning students, it’s now time for SGA to move on and actually address student needs.

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