The next time students apply for a college representative position within Student Senate, there will be an additional duty they will need to fulfill if elected.
Senate recently passed an amendment to change the by-law duties of college representatives and diversity senators. Senate Vice President Tony Sumnicht said that the amendment would require these positions to submit an application for a specific committee that would fall under those positions’ scope of concern.
“The committees that the senators will be applying for are very important committees for students to have a voice on,” Sumnicht said.
Currently, senators representing colleges or diversity must serve on at least one committee, and there are no restrictions on which committees they can choose. Of course, many senators choose to serve on more than one committee.
Starting next year, though, the options for committees will be limited to a short list of committees that are most important to what senators are representing. If senators want to apply for a second or third committee after applying for a required committee, they would still be free to do that.
Sumnicht said that senators would need to learn to avoid being spread too thin by joining too many committees.
“I think it will be up to the person elected to these positions next year to manage their time,” Sumnicht said. “The motion doesn’t take effect until the next session, so they will know the duties before taking office.”
Matthew Stewart is the college representative for the College of Arts and Sciences and when the motion was brought up in Senate he was initially opposed, because he was already busy enough with his existing committees and meetings.
However, after the amendment was changed to say the changes wouldn’t go into effect until next year, Stewart switched his position from opposed to in favor.
“Now, the people applying to be college representatives will go into it knowing they have to serve on certain committees,” Stewart said.
The diversity senator would also have an additional duty to apply to either the University Diversity and Inclusivity Committee or Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, and the athletic senator would need to serve as a member of the Faculty Senate University Athletic Committee.
Sumnicht said that Shared Governance, which approves appointments to all campus committees, would still have the power to choose more qualified applicants over the college representatives, if applicable. The college representatives are only required to apply to be on the committees, but Sumnicht said that the predetermined committees would add to representatives’ experience.
“I think it will allow these senators to be more involved and knowledgeable about topics that they should be concerned about,” Sumnicht said.
Hannah Klingfus, the college representative for the College of Education and Professional Studies, agreed with Sumnicht that the predetermined committees will be useful for college representatives.
“I think it’s a good idea because sometimes as a college representative there isn’t much set forth for you to do for your college,” Klingfus said. “A committee related to your Senate position gives you an outlet to make a difference.”