Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Senate works to retain and train new members

Senate parliamentarian Joshua Tharpe (right) explains to the senate and gallery that the rule requiring new senate applicants to gather 100 signatures from the student body was created during a time when the senate was more popular, in a meeting last Friday.
Sam Hill
Senate parliamentarian Joshua Tharpe (right) explains to the senate and gallery that the rule requiring new senate applicants to gather 100 signatures from the student body was created during a time when the senate was more popular, in a meeting last Friday.

Posted on January 27, 2015 in News
By Sam Hill

The student senate shot down a motion last week that would have changed the senator application process for the remainder of the semester. Throughout the year the senate has occasionally questioned whether or not applicants should have to gather signatures from the student body in order to become a senator. On Friday the senate decided that the signature process should remain, but only after thorough discussion.

“The petition process was put in place when the senate was set to have a busy election and thought that the seats were going to fill up instantly,” said senate parliamentarian Joshua Tharpe. “As we all know, that hasn’t been the case.”

The senate has been under seated all year and has suspended the rule requiring signatures in order to appoint senators on occasion. The requirement used to be 100 signatures but was later reduced to just 25.  Recruitment was key in the discussion, as some senators said petitioning could be getting in the way of recruiting new members while they have only 14 of 21 seats filled.

“Not everyone has the go-getter attitude necessary to talk to so many strangers and get signatures,” said senator Emily Rose.

Other senators felt that the petitioning was an important part of the process.

“You should have to work to be on senate,” said senator Ashley Caterina. “If you can’t bother going out and talking to students you’re going to be working for, you shouldn’t get the job.”

“I know it can feel like a hassle and a pain,” said senator John Jackson. “But it forces you to get out there and connect with the community. It really helps put a face to our names, which is something we’ve been working to do.”

Josh Dodge, former senate chair who stepped down to take an out-of-state internship, was in attendance and explained why the signature process was created in the first place.

“There was a point a couple years ago when senate was this empty and we started appointing senators without an election just to fill seats, but there was a little bit of an outrage because people thought senators were abers of certain clubs,” explained Dodge. “With the petitioning, we at least have something saying this handful of students wanted you to be a senator. It’s not an election, but it backed our decisions up.”

There was a motion on the floor to suspend the petition requirements until the senate had at least 18 senators, but was shot down, with only four senators voting to do away with the rule.

The senate has been working to increase the size of the senate, but decided to start from the inside. This week the executive board introduced a senator retention program, pairing up veteran senators with freshly appointed ones to guide them through a handful of meetings and help them get used to their duties.

The senate also assigned senators to each of its entities, including the board of student organizations, the campus events boards and the student communications board, in order to maximize relationships with other student groups.

“I feel like this will help everyone keep on track,” said senate chair Judson Cease. “We’re moving in a good direction.”

 

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