MACOMB –Western Illinois University’s Student Government Association signaled its desire for an internal review of leadership on campus through a discussion of adopting a series of core values.
Speaker of the Senate Aaron Steele authored SGA Bill 2018-2019.001 to accept Diversity, Accountability, Accessibility and Awareness as the new values and beliefs of the governing body. If adopted, the document would be the first set of core values the organization has had.
“These aren’t decisions that I’ve made alone, or words that I just threw onto paper; these are words that the body that showed up to (the) SGA retreat believed in so strongly that we started off with three core values, but couldn’t decide on the last one, so we decided to add a fourth one,” he said.
The Student Government Association has been a legislative body that has governed students for 100 years, and has been known as the SGA for the past 50 years. Taking a fresh look at how the SGA has been operating over the period of time concerning what it has done well and way it can improve going forward, Steele said the core values have moral implications for the kind of governance which will represent the university and student body in a positive light.
As author of the bill, Steele recused himself from the chair position temporarily and allowed the Speaker Pro Tempore Joe Reinert to preside over the discussion.
During discussion, Steele said the core values are not yet going into the SGA Constitution. Doing so would require a new bill to be written and then voted on by student legislators. The proposed core values are a “statement that SGA has decided these are core values that we want and we are going to put ourselves to” and “how we want to represent our organization,” he said. He also said the SGA core values bill in its current state is  a “publicity statement,” and “grounds to move further in our leadership and our representation of students.”
“This is a big deal for us. The Student Government Association has never had core values, it’s had a mission statement, but it’s never had any amount of core values,” Steele said.
However, several student legislators during the ensuing discussion expressed their concern of the lack of an action plan which would describe in detail the implementation of the four core values, and that some senators expressed their opinions that the core values are already instilled in the student government signifying the core values bill is redundant.
Addition concerns were expressed that the adoption of new core values might unintentionally suggest to students on campus a coercive type of punitive measure sanctioning some students or members of the SGA.
With that in mind, SGA council members voted 11 to 9 in favor of tabling this bill until such time as when an action plan could be developed and presented.

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