George Mason Law School

Senate addresses attendance issue, introduces new legislation to enforce attendance

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November 2, 2016

9:22 PM

For the second time this semester, senators were called under attendance review during the Student Assembly senate meeting Nov. 1. This attendance review followed the introduction of The Attendance Revision Act, which would codify mandatory attendance at committee meetings and other SA events such as tailgates.

A senator can be called under attendance review after missing three meetings, whether those are Tuesday night senate meetings or committee meetings on Sundays. Even if these absences have been previously excused by Senate Secretary Annelise Yackow ’18, they count towards the three absences needed for attendance review.

While Chairman of the Senate Danny O’Dea ’18 said it is not common, the senate can call to impeach a senator following attendance review. On Nov. 1, Yackow called Sen. Colleen Heberle ’18, Sen. E’Driana Berry ’17, Sen. Sikander Zakriya ’19 and Sen. Shannon Dutchie ’19 under attendance review. Individually, each senator explained why they missed their three or more meetings.

Dutchie’s absences occurred during the SA retreat, which SA Vice President Hannah McKiernan ’17 and SA President Eboni Brown ’17 had established as mandatory.

“I’m going to contest this … the date was changed and I would have been here for the first date, but couldn’t be here for the second,” Dutchie said. “I couldn’t change that. Sorry about that, it won’t happen again. I missed three committee meetings in total, but it won’t happen again.”

The other three senators attributed the majority of their absences to sorority and fraternity recruitment and training sessions.

“I had mandatory things for sorority related training and I am in a sorority of two people so I literally have to go to those things and I informed people of my absences,” Berry said.

Heberle attributed her absences to two weekends of committee meetings and a bad migraine and Zakriya attributed his to a new member induction for his fraternity and going out of town for the weekend.

No senators raised a motion to impeach one of the four under attendance review. Immediately following attendance review O’Dea called the senate into a closed session to discuss personnel matters.

Also during the meeting, Class of 2017 President Emily Thomas ’17 introduced The Attendance Revision Act, which would mandate attendance at other SA events and would mandate that a bill of impeachment be introduced during each attendance review. Senators would then vote anonymously on this impeachment.

This bill is an effort on our part to increase and enforce attendance not only in senate but in other events outside of senate like tailgating and tabling,” Thomas said.

“This bill is an effort on our part to increase and enforce attendance not only in senate but in other events outside of senate like tailgating and tabling,” Thomas said. “I hope everyone takes the time to read this. If this passed, everybody is going to start being held accountable to this.”

O’Dea assigned the bill to all standing committees and reminded senators that any change to the code requires a roll-call vote and must be passed by two-thirds of the senate.

Earlier in the semester, Yackow called Sen. Olivia Camper ’17 and Sen. Tyler Sherman J.D. under attendance review. At that time, no motions were made to impeach Camper or Sherman.

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Sarah Smith

News Editor Sarah Smith '19 is an international relations and gender, sexuality, and women's studies major from Ashburn, VA. She formerly served as Associate News Editor.