‘Dog and pony show’: Tensions build in SGA

Shortly after passing a resolution honoring Rowena Irani’s contributions to the WSU community, tension bubbled in the Student Government Association.

President Joseph Shepard informed the senate that two senators would no longer be able to attend the annual SGA conference. This could result in a possible loss of $1,076, as the plane tickets, purchased through Sunflower travel, are nonrefundable.

President Shepard was asked to elaborate on the circumstances as to why these senators would not be able to attend the conference. President Shepard then gave the floor to Sen. Luke Mohr.

“I wasn’t told the floor would be given to me, but thanks for the opportunity anyways. First, I’ve never really liked people speaking for me, so I would like to go ahead and get this out of the way,” Mohr said.

He then went on to detail to the senate how November is difficult for his family, as it is a time when they mourn two tragic family deaths from the past two years.

“I initially thought I would be able to go to the conference, but I decided it would be more important to be there for my family,” Mohr continued. “While I agree that it is unfortunate I am not able to attend the conference for leadership development, I disagree with how publicly I am being shamed, how my tragedy is flaunted, rather than being talked to, connected with, asked why I am not going to the conference.

“Instead, I am forced up here in this dog and pony show to share something that I am personally very against sharing.”

Mohr said he was dismayed as to how he and other senators have been treated by cabinet members and senate individuals.

“I think it is toxic,” Mohr said. “I think the environment is wrong, unprofessional, and inappropriate. And while I won’t speak for other people, I think the way certain individuals have respected other senators is just disgusting, reprehensible, and repulsive.

“There are individuals who are no longer a part of senate because they were forced out by other individuals within senate because of disagreements, differences of opinion, personal matters that shouldn’t actually be a part of senate, let alone affect professional relationships. We were elected into these positions, and yet instead of caring about their lives, we’re waring on these different vendettas with administration and amongst ourselves. This us unbecoming, and just ultimately disruptive, to WSU life, to our efficiency as an organization.”

Senator Mohr closed his remarks by thanking SGA for the opportunity to speak.

“I was not told that I would be given this opportunity,” said Senator Mohr, “but, ya know, I imagine the communication just got lost in translation.”

Senator Mohr then dismissed himself from the meeting and the room and was unavailable for further comment.

After the meeting, President Shepard expressed concern for Mohr.

“I’m extremely worried about Sen. Mohr and I want to make sure he’s okay,” Shepard said. “He felt like he was being called out, and that was not my intention, and not any senator’s intention.”

Acting SGA advisor Lyston Skerritt called SGA a ‘family’ and said they need to “engage with each other.”

“Any time you’re making change people are going to be passionate,” Skerritt said. “We need to create space for people to openly and freely voice their opinions.”