The Student Government Association (SGA) will be voting on a new bill that would update the bylaws in order to allow freshmen to be senators and committee vice-chairs.
Despite the bylaws, there already are currently freshman SGA senators and vice-chairs. Kevin Suresh, an SGA senator and junior business undecided major addressed this and talked about how updating the bylaws is more of a technicality than anything else.
“Pretty much changing the bylaws is just to update them,” Suresh said. “Right now in practice, we are allowing all the freshmen. It’s just on paper now. It’s been like that for a while now, we’ve been letting freshmen in. We’ve been trying to give them more opportunities, more leadership. They’re super willing to do it and definitely capable, so why wait?”
The discrepancy in the bylaws was first noticed by Angelo Cadiente, SGA senator and a senior biology and philosophy major. When looking over the bylaws at the beginning of the semester, he noticed a discrepancy in the ability for freshmen to become at-large senators.
Cadiente spoke about the important role freshmen have been playing in SGA this year and why updating the bylaws was necessary.
“This freshmen class has been one of the most astounding sequences of members I have ever seen not only in their devotion to the Student Government but to also that of the student body,” Cadiente said. “I believe it would be a disservice to them if they are unable to represent the university as a whole considering their work.”
When asked if changing the bylaws was influenced by the recent resignation of multiple SGA senators earlier this year, Cadiente said he did not believe the two were connected. He added that he believes the senators who left would have also been in favor of changing the bylaws.
“Not necessarily so, of course, the veteran senators provide a very nuanced [talk] with regards to how student government is conducted,” Cadiente said. “But considering that we all share this perspective of inclusivity I very much doubt that there would be any discrepancy between what they believed in and what we are currently attempting to implement now.”
Suresh and Cadiente said they did not think there was anyone not in favor of updating the bylaws.
“Right now, I think everyone wanted to change it,” Suresh said.“They all know how much the freshmen do for the SGA, so changing the bylaws was definitely a thing everyone wanted.”
Freshmen SGA senators and vice-chairs talked about the importance of updating the bylaws.
“I fully support this bill because the freshmen are vital to the continuation of SGA,” Chase Cohen, a committee vice-chair and freshman diplomacy major, said. “Last semester a lot of people resigned or graduated early which meant that we had to step up and take on more work. All the freshmen are doing amazing things and the bylaws should not prevent us from taking on larger roles.”
Bushra Choudhury, an SGA senator and vice-chair and freshmen IT and finance major, also talked about the ways freshmen have been stepping up this year and why she thinks it is good they can move to higher positions within SGA.
“Currently this organization is really being carried by the freshmen because right now a lot of the members are freshmen,” Choudhury said. “Especially since we had a lot of vacancies because many of our juniors and sophomores left so I do think that is great that freshmen are stepping up to the plate.
“Because the way the original constitution bylaws were written the roles weren’t necessarily allowed, but we do now have this ability to step up to higher positions like being vice-chair and step up to senate leadership.”
I do think that because we do put in the work, it’s great that we are now being given the opportunity to step up.”
Justin Avendaño, a SGA senator and freshman physics major, said he was also in favor of the bylaws being updated.
“Our Freshmen class has done a lot and even surprises me how much we’ve been able to do,” Avendaño said. “All the freshmen in SGA have such great prowess, fortitude, and initiative that we take up even the most daunting tasks because we know we can do something greater. I am really proud that my SGA big, Senator Nick Alfano, was one of the proponents of the bill, he is a big inspiration for me in SGA and really helped me out throughout my time in SGA.”
Genevieve Krupcheck can be reached at email@example.com.