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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Trial questions senator’s actions

What began as an appeal to the Student Government Association’s Judicial Court regarding fair practices in senate morphed into an expedited trial Monday on the legal scope of the judicial branch.
The trial was a response to an appeal claiming that Cary Cheshire, Student Senate finance chair, “evaded” requests for a funding hearing, specifically for the hearing where Fish Aides was to present its request for Big Banquet fundng, an annual custodian appreciation luncheon. The appeal was authored by student senator Gracie Wood in hopes of obtaining court orders to move the allocation bill regarding Fish Aides to the Student Senate floor Wednesday, the last day that Student Senate may allocate funds.
The prosecution argued that Cheshire, because of a personal bias against Fish Aides, made the request for a hearing to appeal for funding for the custodial banquet impossible. In the trial, Wood said Fish Aides did not want to submit the case, but felt there was no
other option.
Wood cited the appropriation portion of the senate bylaws, which state “the finance committee shall conduct hearings to consider any funding requests.”
“We in fact will not receive a hearing without J-Court’s help,” Wood said. “That is against the bylaws. Him holding [the hearing] hostage causes us to not receive a hearing and that will break the bylaws.”
In defense, Cheshire argued that Wood’s request to push the bill to the Student Senate floor was not in the bounds of J-Court’s authority, as the judicial branch can only rule on the constitutionality of situations.
“We are not here to decide whether or not Fish Aides deserves money, whether or not they’re a great committee, whether or not the SGA banquet or Big Banquet is a good idea,” Cheshire said. “We’re not here to decide whether or not I’m a nice person. We’re not here to decide if I’m a professional person. We’re here to decide if I violated the constitution and I don’t believe that I have.”
Cheshire said a hearing had not been held because he did not receive February financial reports from Fish Aides until April 7, past the deadline in March. Cheshire said there were line-item errors in this report by the time he received it and that he was working with an executive staff member to resolve this problem at the time the trial was called.
Cash Fields, director of Fish Aides, said Fish Aides had in fact turned in this financial form on time and that the executive office was responsible for the late filing.
“If there’s anyone to be punished by Chair Cheshire’s power as a finance chair, it should be the executive cabinet, who’s the one who made the mistake, and not the committee who turned our things in on time,” Fields said.
J-Court has 72 hours to come to a decision. Justice Brenton Cooper said the decision could have lasting implications on the Student Senate.
“I’m a bit concerned that if we decide in [the plaintiff’s] favor today, the court will essentially be interjecting itself into the policy-making process of the Student Senate,” Cooper said.

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