By Deanne Krokos, For The Miami Student
A newly approved student government restructuring that will adjust the ways seats on the student senate will be appropriated during the 2015 fall semester.
Before the break, ASG passed a new set of bylaws allowing for the creation of new academic representative seats on senate to be held by members of each of Miami’s six divisional colleges.
“I think that by providing these academic seats, it could lead to more diversity within the senate,” said Brandon Fogel, on-campus senator and co-author for the by law amendment.
The existing senate seats are appropriated on the basis of location, with a seat available for each on-campus district and a number held by off-campus representatives. Under the new bylaws, this kind of representation will remain; however the number of location-based seats will be decreased from 25 to 17 for both on and off campus districts. These adjustments are being made to allow for the creation of sixteen academic seats.
The responsibility of those holding academic divisional seats will be to represent the college by which they were elected, and each of these senators will be required to sit on the Academic Affairs coalition.
“By having seats for places like College of Creative Arts, who have zero senators right now, and the College of Engineering and Computing, who have one, it could provide opportunities for them to get their voice out in senate” Fogel said.
The seats will be appropriated among Miami’s six colleges, with proportional representation for each college as a part of the general student body. Additionally, the College of Arts and Sciences will have separate seats for “soft” and “hard” sciences, owing to the range of majors the college hosts.
“We really want to broaden the scope of what student senate does” Chair of the Restructuring Task Force Elizabeth Beumel said.
The goal of these seats is to increase diversity within the senate; a body, which as it stands, is composed of largely business and political science students. With a more diverse range of students serving in the senate, the hope is that a new range of issues can be addressed by the senate as a whole, increasing their influence over more academic aspects of Miami’s campus life.
“Currently all of the student concerns and legislation has mostly been locationally-based, which makes sense because all of them are locational senators,” Beumel said. “To broaden the scope of the concerns that [senators] are bringing to the floor we wanted to add these academic seats.”
Furthermore, the goal has been expressed that these changes should allow the senate to gain more power and independence within ASG as a whole, with the hope that they can tackle larger, campus-wide issues affecting the Miami students they represent.
“Hopefully we’re going to start seeing bigger issues in academics that we’ve been trying to address,” Fogel said.
Any students with majors in one of Miami’s six academic divisions will be eligible to run for one of the academic representative seats and elections will be held within the respective colleges after the general student body election.