University of Central Florida Student Government

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University of Central Florida
Student Government
Abbreviation SGA
President Nick Larkins
Vice President Cristina Barreto
Speaker of the Senate Josh Boloña
President Pro Tempore Sierra Scott
Chief Justice Aric Hawkins
Founded March 9, 1969; 48 years ago (1969-03-09)
Preceded by Florida Technological University Student Government
(1969–1978)
Headquarters Orlando, Florida, United States
Membership 60,810 (Fall 2014)[1]
University University of Central Florida
Budget $17.5 million (FY 2014)
Executive cabinet seats 7
Senate seats 60
Judicial seats 14
Website
sga.ucf.edu

The University of Central Florida Student Government (SGA) is the student body government for the University of Central Florida, a metropolitan public research university located in Orlando, Florida, United States. It is the largest Student Government within the state of Florida and one of the largest in the United States.[2] In addition, it also often places in the top ten SGAs nationally for the services and outreach it provides for the students it serves. SGA also serves as the liaison between the student body and University Administration. Three branches, an executive, a legislative, and a judicial are governed by the student-adopted Constitution.

SGA creates, approves, and oversees a $17.5 million budget generated by student fees and self-generated revenue – one of the largest student government budgets in the United States. With its budget, SGA funds and operates three campus facilities, the main Recreation and Wellness Center, the Recreation and Wellness Center at Knights Plaza, and the Student Union, while also providing nearly $1 million in funding to 600 registered student organizations.[3][4]

Constitution

The preamble of the Constitution of the Student Body of the University of Central Florida reads:[5]

We, the students of the University of Central Florida, in order that we may maintain the benefits of constitutional liberty and may create a representative association through which the individual student can participate actively in this University and which promotes cooperation among the Student Body, Faculty, and Administration, do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution of the Student Body of the University of Central Florida.

The Constitution consists of six Articles. The first Article details the jurisdiction of the student government, franchise, and the requirements for referendums. The second, third, and fourth articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers seen in the federal and state constitutions, whereby the government is divided into three branches: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, respectively. The fifth article discusses the Senior Student Affairs Officer, which is a staff member designated as the administrative head of the student government, and designated as such by the university president. The sixth article provides the procedure for amending and ratifying the Constitution.[5]

The Constitution has been amended forty-two times, the first being in April 1970, and the last being in April 2011.[5] An amendment may be proposed by a two-thirds vote of the senate, or a petition with fifteen percent of the number of votes cast for president in the previous election. Amendments must be reviewed and approved by the university president.

Legislature

Senate Apportionment[6][7]
College/school Seats
Arts and Humanities 5
Business Administration 8
Education and Human Performance 4
Engineering and Computer Science 9
Graduate Studies 8
Health and Public Affairs 9
Medicine 3
Nursing 2
Rosen College of Hospitality Management 3
Sciences 11
Optics and Photonics 1
Undergrad Studies 2
Undeclared 1

Legislative authority is vested in a Student Senate.[5] The Senate consists of sixty-elected senators, one for each 1,000 students as required by statute.[8][9] The Senate is led by a Speaker of the Senate, who is elected at the beginning of each term. A Senate President Pro Tempore is also elected at the same time as the Speaker to help manage the legislative agenda. According to the Constitution and statutes, elections for Senate are held each fall – usually in late September or early October. A majority of the votes cast is required to win. The newly elected senators are inaugurated at the first meeting following the completion of elections. The Senate is bound by university policy, applicable state and federal statutes, and the state and federal constitutions. Newly elected senators take an oath to obey the student body, state, and federal constitutions. The Speaker of the Senate and President Pro Tempore receive an annual salary between $10,000 and $15,000 per year.[10][11]

Senate bills must be signed by both the Student Body President and the Senior Student Affairs Officer. Either officer may veto any Senate bill. The Senate may override the veto of the Student Body President by a two-thirds vote, at which the time the legislation is passed to the Senior Student Affairs Officer for approval or veto. If a bill is vetoed by the Senior Student Affairs Officer, the Senate may override the veto by a two-thirds vote, at which time the legislation goes to the president of the university for ultimate review. The decision of the university president is final and may not be overridden by the Senate.[5][12] In 2010, a veto by the Senior Student Affairs Officer was successfully overridden by the Senate and university president.[13] Resolutions require only the signature of the Speaker and President Pro Tempore.

Budget and fiscal policy

The Senate is the body required by statutes to pass appropriations and to submit funding bills passed to the Student Body President for signature. Fiscal decisions are governed by rules and statutes regarding the budget process. Under state law (§ 240.235), the Senate has sole jurisdiction – except for the approval by the Senior Student Affairs Officer or their designee – over the allocation of the university's activity and service fee budget.[12][14] Each fall, a budget committee is created and is responsible for the creation for the next fiscal years budget, including the allocation of funding to the various SGA branches, departments, agencies, services, and buildings. The annual budget is completed in early spring and presented to the Senate for consideration before the end of the spring semester. The proposed budget must be approved by the Senate, Student Body President, Senior Student Affairs Officer, and the university president.

The Senate is also responsible for the creation of rules governing the use of appropriated funds, including the setting of funding levels for bills and allocations, and the prohibition of use of funds for certain items and activities.

Committees

Within the Senate are six committees with unique and sole jurisdiction over their respective matters.[15] Each committee is composed of a maximum of ten senators, including a chair and vice-chair. Senators are elected to the fiscal committees by a majority vote of the Senate, and are appointed to the internal committees by the Speaker. Statutes require that senators serve on a minimum of one committee.[8] Senators are also required to hold a meeting each semester with their constituents and deans, as well as represent about 10 of the over 600 registered student organizations.

Fiscal Committees
  • Financial Allocations for Organizations: Approved allocations and bills to registered student organizations.[15]
  • Conference Registration and Travel: Approved allocations and bills for travel, registration, and conference expenses for individual students and registered student organizations.[15]
  • Operations Review Committee: Reviews and investigates the use of all funds allocated through the activity and service fee.[15]
Internal Committees
  • Legislative, Judicial, and Rules: Reviews legislation and recommends changes concerning the Student Government Constitution, Student Body Statutes, and Senate Rules.[15]
  • Elections and Appointments: Interviews and reviews appointments made by the Student Body President.[15]
  • Student Body Advocacy: Reviews local, state, and federal laws and legislation that affect the student body.[15]

Executive

The boardwalk behind the UCF Student Union, an SGA funded and operated facility.

Article IV vests the executive power in a Student Body President. The Student Body President and Vice President serve an identical one-year term, elected each spring by a majority vote of the student body. The president and vice president are not eligible for reelection. Candidates must be UCF students, and in good academic and financial standing with the university.[5] Candidates usually have prior experience in SGA, either as a member of the Senate or the Executive Cabinet. The president and vice president both receive a paid salary that ranges from $15,000 to $18,000 per year.[10][11]

The president is vested with the authority to appoint officers to vacancies within SGA, including open senate seats, and to the Executive Cabinet – which consists of an Attorney General, Comptroller, Director of Campus Life, Director of Communications, Director of Governmental Affairs, Director of Student Affairs, and Judicial Advisor.[16] The cabinet also includes a number of sub-cabinet positions. In total, within the executive branch are between 30–40 appointed and paid cabinet members that oversee everything from university policies to tracking the state's Legislature. These positions are subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the Senate. The president also has the authority to call and preside over meetings of the SGA, to call for a referendum of the student body (with two-thirds concurrence vote of the Senate), and to veto legislation passed by the Senate. The Senate may override a presidential veto with a two-thirds vote. The president may remove appointed officers at their discretion, except for those subject to senate confirmation, which require a two-thirds vote of concurrence from the Senate. The president is also vested with the power to provide for the effective expenditure of student funds as allocated by the Senate. With this power, the president has the authority to suspend SGA agencies for malfeasance or violation of statutes.[5][16]

The president serves as a member of the university's Board of Trustees and the Florida Student Association (FSA), which is an association composed of all student body presidents and their respective staffs from Florida's state universities. The Chair of the FSA serves on the Florida Board of Governors, the governing board of the state university system. UCF Student Body President Cortez Whatley served as FSA chair from 2012–2013.[17]

Judiciary

The Judicial Branch performs the judiciary function for SGA.[18] The Judicial Council consists of fourteen Associate Justices, led by a Chief Justice. Justices are appointed by the president and subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the Senate. The Council has jurisdiction over questions of the student body constitution, the protection of student rights, disputes and regulations of university policy, and parking and grade appeals. The Council has the final authority on questions of constitutional interpretation for the SGA when such questions are submitted by any student. The Council also has the power of judicial review, the power to examine legislative and executive acts. Such acts brought to the attention of the Council may be declared unconstitutional by majority concurrence. All decisions by the Council are binding and valid on all affected parties.[5][18]

See also

References

  1. ^ "UCF Current Facts". University of Central Florida Institutional Knowledge Management. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  2. ^ "April 2009 headcount". Florida Board of Governors. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  3. ^ "Knights of the RoundTable 2008–2009 Registered Student Organization Awards" (PDF). University of Central Florida Student Government Association. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  4. ^ "UCF Student Union Goals and Mission". University of Central Florida Student Government Association. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h University of Central Florida Student Government. "The Constitution of the Student Body of the University of Central Florida" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  6. ^ University of Central Florida Student Government (2013-09-23). "Senate Reapportionment for 2013 SGA Senatorial Elections - Bill 45-124" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  7. ^ Apportionment for the 2013–2014 Legislative Term
  8. ^ a b University of Central Florida Student Government. "Senate Statutes - Tile III: The Legislative Branch" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  9. ^ Reapportionment of the Senate occurs each summer (before fall elections), and is based off the average enrollment of the colleges and campuses from the preceding fall and spring semesters as reported by the university. Per statute, there is to be one senator per 1,000 students, rounded down to the nearest thousand. Reapportionment is completed by the Elections and Appointments Committee, and is subject to a majority vote of the Senate.
  10. ^ a b "UCF student leaders and their salaries". Central Florida Future. 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  11. ^ a b "Should USF's SGA President Be Paid More Than UCF's?". KnightNews. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  12. ^ a b "The 2000 Florida Statutes Chapter 240 Postsecondary Education". The Florida Legislature. May 2000. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  13. ^ "Senate steps up". Central Florida Future. 2010-09-05. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  14. ^ "Student Activity and Service Fees Are Spent to Benefit the Entire Student Body" (PDF). Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability an office of the Florida Legislature. May 2006. Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g University of Central Florida Student Government. "Senate Committees" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  16. ^ a b University of Central Florida Student Government. "Senate Statutes - Title IV: The Executive Branch" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  17. ^ Sunshine State News (2012-06-21). "UCF Student Cortez Whatley Joins Florida Board of Governors". Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  18. ^ a b University of Central Florida Student Government. "Senate Statutes - Title V: The Judicial Branch" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-01. 

External links

  • UCF Student Government Association
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