The Constituency Town Hall Amendment was introduced in Monday night’s Student Government Association meeting. The aim of the legislation is to change the set-up of the SGA members’ town hall meetings and hopefully encourage students to come out and voice their concerns more readily.
“The students of Seton Hall would be better served by holding two formal town hall meetings per semester as a joint body as opposed to those held in the past by individual senators on behalf of their separate constituencies,” reads the text of the bill.
Essentially, while senators have been normally required to hold two town hall meetings for their particular constituency each semester, the bill would change this so that rather than having as many as 22 separate meetings (two for each of the 11 constituencies represented), two Senate-wide meetings would take place.
The bill will hopefully make the town hall meeting process easier for the SGA as well as for the students, many of which fit into several different constituencies and might have to attend several different meetings to discuss issues with their senators.
Students would not have to worry about bringing their problems to the right senators, as they would have access to all of them at these new meetings and would still be able to reach out to specific senators.
“A lot of the issues we talk about are community-wide issues,” Sen. Jesse Beutell said. However “you can still connect to individual constituencies.”
Many senators also believe having two larger meetings will increase generally low student turnout because they will be easier to advertise.
“It will be a lot easier to advertise for,” Sen. Mike Urban said. He explained at the business constituency’s meetings “the most students in attendance we had were two.” This is also touched upon in the bill itself, where the text says the previous meetings “suffered from repetitively low levels of attendance by Seton Hall students.”
The town hall meetings have been difficult for the SGA as well, as Sen. Dana Kappel reported only the senator representing the ROTC constituency held both of the meetings during the fall 2009 semester.
The bill was tabled until next week’s meeting, when the senators will put it to a vote.
Faculty advisor Sarah Clifford brought up the committee that has been formed to help coordinate relief efforts for victims of the earthquake in Haiti, and said in addition to the committee there will be a week of events to support the effort, most likely the third week in February.
Village Liaisons member Kelsey Coolidge reported to the SGA that the group is also trying to combine Seton Hall initiatives to help Haiti with community efforts in South Orange. Additionally, Village Liaisons has a number of current projects including launch of the ‘Blue Orange’ blog and the upcoming off-campus living fair.
Also discussed at Monday’s meeting were the upcoming elections for new SGA members as well as for next year’s executive board. Interest meetings will be held the nights of Feb. 16-19. Any student who plans on running must attend one of these interest sessions.Time and room number have not been set yet.
Applications for senate seats are due on March 5, along with signed petition forms.
Candidates will campaign from March 13-29, and voting will take place on March 29 and 30.
Katherine O’Brien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.