In a plan unveiled last spring, the newly elected student body officers and Senate’s executive board have put together a grand plan that completely overhauls the way students are represented.
Students will no longer be represented based solely on where they reside. Senators will now be appointed from all the academic colleges and the Graduate School, the Athletic Department’s Braves Council and various student organizations in addition to the senators elected from residences.
At the moment, we’re taking this approach: It’s better than nothing.
When Senate had its first meeting in September of last year, 17 seats remained unfilled. That was more than half the seats that were available.
While 2007 wasn’t quite as bad, Senate still operated the entire year with several empty seats. That has been the ongoing trend here, which means that for years students haven’t been fully represented.
Student Senate is the student body’s voice to the university. When problems arise, a body of 30 students fighting for something is going to be a lot more effective than one or two students fighting for something.
Last year alone Senate was able to make areas on campus more efficient, get the bookstore to open on Saturdays, remove Blimpie, light up campus during the holidays and several other issues. Obviously none of these are earth shattering, but they were significant accomplishments.
So one would think a body with a fair amount of power wouldn’t have an issue bolstering its ranks, but it seemed no matter how well Senate advertised open seats, the end result was the same: No one ran. And that’s not OK.
So we commend the new administration’s initiative, though a couple areas of the plan seem to be lacking.
The first being that a majority of the new Senate will be appointed, not elected. All the students representing the colleges, greek life, the Braves Council and the student organizations will be chosen by those groups, not directly by students.
That said, we do recognize a few other issues with that.
The second issue with the new plan is that it still seems a little loose. It isn’t known for sure how the greeks will appoint their senators. Nor is it fully known how all the colleges will elect their senators.
The original plan for this amendment was to hold off until the spring so all parts of it could be figured out.
However, the entire Senate voted in May to implement the plan immediately.
From where we sit, it’s a good thing the plan’s being implemented right away. Last year, we initially supported the idea of holding off until the spring, though.
But if Senate waited around for everything to be perfect, change would never happen.
No one, including us, knows if this plan is going to work or not. But it is a plan, and that’s a start. Student Body President Kyle Malinowski seems to have the right attitude and told the Scout this week that if it doesn’t work, Senate will try something else.
This is going to be a challenge, but it’s undoubtedly a worthwhile one.