Spillers on UA Diversity Efforts, State Ethics Commission Clarifies Opinion

Nov 20, 2015

University of Alabama SGA President Elliott Spillers
Credit Pete Pajor / Crimson White

Students at the University of Alabama repeated a list of demands for more diversity on the Tuscaloosa campus.

A student march started at Malone-Hood Plaza and ended at Gorgas Library, where the students' eleven goals were restated. The group “We Are Done UA” wants a safe space for students of color, a diversity class for freshmen, and a way to report hate crimes and sexual abuse on campus, among other things.

Elliott Spillers is President of the Student Government Association at UA. He says the creation of a new central diversity officer is a good start, but more needs to be done.

“It’s a process. I mean, this won’t solve all of our problems. This hasn’t solved the problems on any of our SEC campuses, because they’re dealing with it right now. Missouri has a VP of diversity, they have a chief diversity officer, and they’re still going on with what they’re going on with right now.”

Spillers says a recent meeting with University of Alabama President Dr. Stuart Bell was encouraging. Dr. Bell named Spillers to the campus committee of strategic planning.

Alabama’s attorney general says a new state Ethics Commission opinion makes it clear that legislators cannot serve as hired lobbyists.

Attorney General Luther Strange and the president of the Alabama District Attorneys Association sent a letter to state legislators yesterday discussing the opinion.

They say the opinion is "emphatic" that legislators cannot be paid to promote legislation. While lawmakers can accept salaries from organizations, the commission says it must be clear that the pay is unrelated to the legislator's public position.

Last month, commissioners tightened advice regarding state legislator Patricia Todd's employment with an LGBT advocacy organization after prosecutors complained it undermined the ethics law.

Defense lawyers for House Speaker Mike Hubbard pointed to the old opinion in defending the embattled speaker. Hubbard is accused of using his public position to obtain and assist clients.

It will be senior day at Bryant-Denny Stadium as #2 Alabama hosts Charleston Southern on Saturday. 25 Crimson Tide seniors will be honored just before kickoff in the final home game of the season.

Coach Nick Saban says this group means a lot to his program.

“I certainly hope that our fans show the kind of appreciation that we all should have for what these guys have, what their sort of hard work, blood, sweat and tears has contributed to the program over the last four or five years.”

The senior class, headlined by linebacker Reggie Ragland, running back Kenyan Drake and others have helped Alabama to a 45-6 record in the past four seasons. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.