Chris Bobbitt officially sworn in as commuter senator

Laura Browne
Assistant News Editor
lbrowne@unca.edu

Chris Bobbitt officially fills the position of commuter senator despite previously not being allowed to serve in the Student Government Association during the 2018-2019 school year.

During a closed session lasting around six minutes at Wednesday’s SGA meeting, the senate voted unanimously, according to Bobbitt, to allow him to be inaugurated. Following the closed session, Bobbitt was sworn in on Wednesday’s SGA meeting alongside the newly elected freshmen senators.

Bobbitt said he was informed by the administration that in spite of his election, the reason he could not originally hold his position on the senate was due to the fact he neglected to attend the initial swearing-in ceremony in addition to having two unexcused absences at SGA meetings held under the authority of the current administration last semester.  

According to SGA Vice President Kimani Anderson, Senior Senator Sydney Nazloo guided members of SGA to the conclusion that senators are allotted two unexcused absences under the senate bylaws.

“Essentially, there was a discrepancy in the way that we interpreted the bylaws,” Anderson said. “Thankful to Sydney, we finally got the actual meaning of what the bylaws meant and what the rules on absences were.”

With the problem of Bobbitt’s absences resolved, the only issue standing in the way of him serving on SGA was the fact that he missed his inauguration.

“It was OK that he missed two meetings,” Anderson said. “The only issue was that he didn’t get sworn in. So we just swore him in with the freshmen senators, everything is good now. The senate voted to have him back, so everything is good.”

Chris Bobbitt was sworn in with the Freshman Senators, allowing him to serve as Commuter Senator despite previous debate. Photo by Laura Browne.

After being sworn in, Bobbitt said he felt vindicated.

“I’m ready to get to work,” Bobbitt said.

Bobbitt said that not being able to serve despite being the only commuter senator elected to SGA has caused concern with at least one of his constituents.

“I spoke to one on National Voter Registration Day and she was curious as to why I was not there to give her a voice, but it’s been resolved now, so that’s important,” Bobbitt said.

SGA advisor and Director of International Student Services Robert Straub said he does not view Bobbitt’s absences as a problem for commuter students.

“There are sophomore, junior and senior senators who are also commuters,” Straub said.

According to Straub, Bobbitt’s absences were not as large of an issue as his failure to be inaugurated.

“Can you count two absences when somebody’s not a senator?” Straub said. “Typically, if you get elected to a position, you have to be sworn into the position in order to hold it.”

Straub said that being officially sworn-in was necessary for Bobbitt to be able to fill the position to which he was elected.

“Can you hold somebody under the constitution when they’re not part of the Senate? On the other hand, he was elected, so you get all these weird spaces and it just needed to be cleaned so that nobody could say that he was wrong,” Straub said.

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