ASG discusses residential senator reforms
June 5, 2014
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Associated Student Government passed legislation Wednesday reforming the makeup of residential senators to create more balanced and equal representation.
This legislation was tabled last week to allow for more discussion with members from the Residential College Board and the Residential Hall Association. The legislation proposed to eliminate the distinction between RCB and RHA senators and to create a district model using geographic proximity and resident-to-senator ratios to determine the specified districts.
The proposed amendments also included creating a joint confirmation committee and an ad-hoc committee to reevaluate the system in the future.
“These proposed amendments we feel best reflect a compromise between the interests of all the relevant parties while also creating a better system that’s not only more democratic, but also more accountable with clear and transparent accountability,” said SESP sophomore Chris Harlow, student life vice president.
Harlow said the current system poses many challenges, including the selection process, which he noted allows for interview bias and favoritism.
Weinberg freshman Isaac Rappoport proposed an amendment to eliminate the presence of the confirmation committee. He said the confirmation committee decreases the democratic nature of the process.
“It’s giving RCB, RHA a say in a process that really isn’t for representatives of them, it’s for representatives of the people that also live within their district that they also represent,” Rappoport said. “It’s giving us the power to resist changes within the student body and institutionally reject people that we see as challenging ourselves and we shouldn’t be afraid of democracy.”
The amendment was approved and the legislation was ultimately confirmed.
ASG also discussed the residential senator election commission guidelines.
Senate also confirmed individuals for the Student Activities Finance Committee.
Weinberg junior Ariel Roitman was confirmed as the director of new student groups. The position serves as a contact point for those looking to start a student group at NU, McCormick senior Alex Van Atta, vice president for student groups, said.
“I think Ariel really has the vision that matches my own that we need to really be thinking about how we are being perceived by the new groups coming through the door to really improve the experience that they have and to make sure that we’re being as transparent as possible with our processes,” Van Atta said.
Roitman said he is excited to be able to take on this challenge, noting he has a vision for the role and is looking forward to taking on the position.
“I’m also really passionate about helping new student groups so I think this is a great chance to do that,” Roitman said.
Six students were also nominated and confirmed as student life committee directors. The positions included directors of dining initiatives, student services, special projects, residential life, mental health initiatives and transportation and safety.
Harlow said in choosing the directorship positions, he made his decisions based on the qualities each student had. He said the nominees had a great deal of passion for student life and would excel in these positions.
“I really tried to look for the qualities of the individual, some of who had a real passion for students on this campus, professionalism with working with administrators and then a real interest in helping develop and engage with younger committee members to really grow the future members of this organization,” Harlow said.
At the end of the meeting, Harlow motioned for emergency legislation. He requested to use the $50 remaining in the Senate Project Pool to give a donation to Rainbow Animal Assistance Therapy Dogs. Senate confirmed the funding request.
The first Senate of the next academic year will be held on October 1.