SGA passes new bills, hosts ombudsman

Joshua Farmer

Appalachian State University’s Student Governments Association senate hosted Ombudsman James Barnes and passed two bills Tuesday evening.

Barnes was on-hand to introduce the idea of an ombudsman, who acts as a mediator to help find solutions to problems for campus and to SGA.

“The essence of the idea is confidentiality,” Barnes said. “What you say will never be repeated to anyone. “

Barnes indicated that he has taken the job with the understanding that it is on an interim basis.
“I will try to put the office together and get it working,” Barnes said. “That should take about two years.”
Barnes said a website for the office of the ombudsman is currently under construction.

The bills regarded the Night Assistants, formerly known as Night Stars, and Appalachian State University’s radio station, WASU.

Cone Residence Hall representative Nick Smith proposed a bill, which would allow Night Assistants to gain priority registration and opt out of work on nights before they take a final exam.

Smith said he didn’t think it was fair for Night Assistants to be forced to register for early classes in order to graduate on time when they work until 3:30 a.m.

The two major concerns focused on the fear that people might abuse this opportunity and that other groups on campus may want this benefit.

The concern was that people would apply and be accepted to the Night Assistant program, register early, then drop out, leaving the service understaffed and unable to provide the benefit.

Others in the senate worried that this would open a “Pandora’s Box,” and other groups, like Resident Assistants, would be upset that they were originally overlooked for the benefit and lobby for it.

The bill went through two rounds of debate before passing unanimously.

East Residence Hall representative Chris Maples presented the bill explaining that once WASU’s current contract expires, they will sign a new one, which will allow them to stream the station through the speakers in all of Appalachian’s dining facilities.

They will also renew this contract at its expiration continually.

Maples said that 89.4 percent of students polled were found to be in support of the bill.

The bill passed unanimously.

Story: JOSHUA FARMER, News Editor