SGA members resign
Published: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 16, 2014 23:02
Three members of the East Tennessee State University Student Government Association resigned from their positions Tuesday.
SGA Vice President Caroline Baird and Public Relations Secretary Gabby Billiot announced their resignations in person, and Sen. Jackie Neal announced her resignation by letter.
“I would like to say thank you to the student body who elected me and gave me this opportunity,” Baird said.
“It has truly been an honor. Senators, thank you for being patient with me. I will miss the time that being vice president has allowed me to spend getting to know the beauty that lies in each and every single one of you.”
In her resignation speech, Baird, who said she was resigning for personal reasons, spoke about the important role SGA has played in her development at ETSU.
“You have the opportunity, through this position, to share that with this campus and cause amazing change for students,” Baird said. “What you individually choose to do with your position, to do with these resignations and to do with this information is a reflection of your character and yours alone. I hope that you choose wisely.”
Billiot spoke about what she has experienced in the four academic years she has been involved in SGA.
“I’ve seen some amazing things happen in this organization, from the not-so-completed parking garage to Welcome Week concerts and, my favorite, the return of football,” Billiot said. “The amount of good this organization can do for this university is an amazing thing. However, notice I said ‘can do’ and not ‘does.’ Along with seeing some great things from SGA, I have also seen, for lack of a better term, some not-so-great things from this organization.”
Billiot said that the SGA has passed more legislation to change internal matters this year than the entire time she had been involved with the organization.
“When did it become about the voice of ourselves and not the voice of the students?” Billiot said. “This is why people elect us, to set aside our own personal agendas and create some change that they can see. With some exceptions, I don’t think this has happened yet.”
At the first SGA meeting of the semester, Sally Lee, associate vice president for student affairs at ETSU and SGA adviser, announced that five SGA members had failed to make the grades necessary for them to meet the current-term GPA requirement set forth in the SGA constitution.
Lee said that the SGA would not be reading the other letter of resignation it received during the meeting for confidentiality reasons. She also said that the SGA has no other members who failed to meet the current-term GPA requirement.
“When I originally went through this process, there were five individuals,” Lee said. “We did receive a letter of resignation from one other individual in the body. We had a grade change, another one. So, that’s the end of the resignations.”
The SGA members who resigned did not cite the GPA requirement as the reason for their decisions.
SGA President Mike Wallace appointed Secretary of State Robby Vance to fill the vice president position and said that he and Secretary/Treasurer Alicyn York would split the duties of the public relations secretary for the remainder of the semester.
“[The appointment of a vice president] is something that I thought about for a very, very long time,” Wallace said. “This decision was not made lightly. The appointment still needs to confirmed, of course, as you all know, but I really want you all to respect my decision because I really couldn’t imagine working with someone else.”
Wallace said that Vance has been a part of SGA for more than a year and has had the opportunity to serve the organization on the senate and in a cabinet role.
“[Vance] is a well-known and respected campus leader,” Wallace said. “He’s not running for election this year and has no political gain through this.”
The senate will vote on Vance’s appointment sometime in the upcoming weeks.