The Student Government Association (SGA) enacted a new Senate Constituency Bill during their meeting on Nov. 27 that will significantly alter their student representation.
The bill, which passed 16-6 after being tabled twice, reduces the number of senators from 30 to 28. Under the new system, four at-large senators will be elected to represent each of the four undergraduate class levels and two senators will be elected from each of the five Colleges of the University. The ROTC program and School of Theology will elect one senator each.
In addition, the bill abolishes the system of requiring a certain number of signatures to launch a campaign for a Senate seat and eliminates the SGA position of Finance Committee Chair, relegating their responsibilities to the Treasurer. The bill will take effect at the beginning of the next election cycle in the Spring 2024 semester.
The bill was authored by Senator Daniel Braile, a senior majoring in political science, economics and philosophy who serves as SGA’s Student Life Committee chairman.
“It just streamlines everything in a way that we feel makes sense,” Braile said. “These 28 new reapportioned seats are going to be a lot more appealing to run for.”
SGA has faced low voter turnout, uncompetitive elections and uneven student representation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill’s summary states that it “seeks to correct these issues by prompting a much-needed change in the structure of how we elect our representatives.”
Most student organizations have increased their engagement and participation after the pandemic, but SGA has continued to struggle to recruit new members.
“The reason we haven’t bounced back is because we've contented ourselves with being ineffective, and I hope this will change that,” said SGA President Kai Hansen, a junior chemistry, philosophy and business administration major. “I want to give the Senate more opportunities to have decision-making power.”
Upcoming initiatives spearheaded by SGA include permanently fixing Wi-Fi problems on campus and a plan to provide all students with basic Narcan training to prevent opioid overdoses.
“Every student’s only here for four years, right?” Hansen said. “Then after that you go out on your own. So, I’d like to have well trained adults.”
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