For Student Senate, a lack of communication between it and the student body is not beneficial.
On Monday, Student Senate formally removed its director of administration, Isaiah Harlan, from office. It is the first time an officer was impeached and removed in recent years.
In the aftermath of this decision, the senate did not notify the student body of the removal.
Director of administration is a student body officer position elected by the student body. In Harlan’s case, he was elected this semester by all the senators after Andrea Jara Reyes resigned from the position before swearing into the position.
Regardless, as the constituents of the senate, the student body has a right to be notified of the proceedings of such a decision directly from the senate.
This can be done simply through social media or through an email to the student body
The recent removal is not the only instance of a lack of communication from the student-led legislative body.
There’s not a public list of all student senators displayed online or throughout the campus. There are elements out of the senate’s control. It does not have direct access to manage the website without going through the university.
But it is challenging for the senate to update the website in a timely fashion. Three quarters of the way into the semester, the website still shows last year’s student body officers, and none of the general assembly minutes from this semester are available to the public.
The constitution and bylaws on the senate’s website is an outdated copy from 2014, located in a Google Drive folder. These binding documents should never be housed in a format that can be easily changed and updated.
The senate needs to distribute the documents more efficiently in a PDF format, perhaps through social media, the Presence app or in an email to students. If the senate can send a form to vote for officers to the student body through email, it can send out official documents at the beginning of each school year or when amended.
This week’s impeachment proceeding was an example of the vague terms student senate radiates. Simply citing documents which are not easily accessible to students is counterproductive for students to understand the proceedings.
Now that the impeachment is over, it is time for the Student Senate to take communication with the student body seriously by offering transparency to its constituents that improves the campus community.
When asked for the charges of impeachment, all Student Senate would release is that Harlan had a “violation of the constitution or bylaws of Student Senate” and wouldn’t specify any further.