What’s Up With SBA? Senator Resignation Marks Change for Senate Meetings and Elections

The current SBA Executive Board. (left to right: Julia Staszkiewicz, Tyler Hays, Catherine Zhang, Brenna Macnamara, and Ian Taylor)

by James Bell III

contributor

The resignation of one of Millsaps’ senior class Senators due to a night class has sparked conversation about the threat of similar conflicts in the future. Although this is the only recent consequence of the Senate meeting schedule that has directly affected its operations, Student Body Association (SBA) President Ian Taylor has expressed the desire to resolve the risks of this issue as soon as possible.

As the former SBA secretary, Taylor understands the importance of setting up an appropriate assembly time that makes each meeting as effective as it needs to be. “As stated in our bylaws, the Secretary sets the time and meeting place for the Senate each week, but it is typically set according to what the Executive Board as a whole believes would be the best time for the Senate to convene and be effective in its operations,” Taylor said. The time for this year is 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday—which was established in March of last year.

When asked why this time was not changed to better accommodate the schedules of the new Senators, Taylor said that the Executive Board unanimously found it to be the most convenient time for Senate operations. “…We found this (time)  to be very effective for the Senate in allowing us to bring administrators in to discuss different issues affecting the campus, as well as allowing more time for Senate committees to meet before and after Senate meetings. We did not change this time because of these reasons and also because we had been communicating the time to students since March,” Taylor said. He also said that changing the time post-election would be unfair to students who decided not to run due to not being able to attend at the announced time, but then found out a sudden newer time better with their schedule.

Because of the meeting time, some students had to give up on running in the election this year, prioritizing their studies over the prospect of participating in SBA, “There are really passionate students who couldn’t run for senator positions if their night classes coincided with the Senate,” said SBA Vice President Catherine Zhang.

Zhang, much like her fellow Executive Board members, recognizes the importance of the SBA as the voice the represents the interests and success of the student body, and is determined to find a time everyone can be happy with. “At the end of the day, we are the bridge between the students and the administrators, so we need to find a common time for these two groups of people to come to the Senate,” Zhang said.

President Taylor is now in the process of working to make future elections fairer and less inconvenient for both students and the SBA alike. According to him, there are plans for the Executive Board resolve work with the college officials to resolve the issue. “Because of this recent conflict, we are hoping to speak with college administrators, namely Dean Katz, Dean Dunn and the Office of Records), to see if we can block off a permanent one-hour time block for Senate meetings that doesn’t interfere with class schedules and that is open for the entire student body so that every student has an equal opportunity to run for Senate,” Taylor said.

 

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