The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Student elections begin

Senate amends by-laws to address minorities’ fears regarding Special Interest seats

To calm the emotions brewing over the controversial amendment to the Student Body Constitution regarding Special Interest seats, an amendment to the Senate by-laws was proposed at yesterday’s meeting. The change to the by-laws would require Special Interest senators to attend their respective community’s membership meeting. For example, if someone were elected to the African-American Special Interest seat, that person would be required to attend the Association of Black Students meeting.

If the senator failed to attend a meeting, it would count as an absence from a Senate meeting. Two absences would result in the senator’s dismissal.

The proposed change to the by-laws sparked a lengthy debate among the senators.

“These seats need more policy to be in place to ensure they are being used right,” Senator Drew Washington said. “I think that this is a very necessary amendment since these are Special Interest seats.

“Special Interest senators should understand the issues that face these specific groups.”

Senator Reed Varner disagreed.

“I don’t think this is fair to ask without having some of the other senators involved,” he said.

An issue raised was the fact that school senators are not required to attend meeting within their school, so why should Special Interest senators be required to?

Secretary Gabe Travers provided insight into the concern.

“All senators have their affiliated Senate groups,” he said. “In theory, if you’re filling your responsibilities, you would be in contact with these groups.

“We’ve already established that [Special Interest seats] aren’t the same as the school seats.”

Another concern was the extra burden placed on the Special Interest senators.

“Looking at this, I just feel like making the requirement the student organization meetings counting as a Senate absence is too extreme,” Senator Ada Esedebe said. “I think there’s a better way.”

“I see concern for overbearing the [Special Interest] senators,” Senator Asad Rahman said.

When the vote came, the measure was approved 30-2, meaning that Special Interest senators will be required to attend their respective organization’s meetings.

“I really believe this is a step in the right direction,” Student Body President Chip Hiemenz said. “Contact with these organizations is truly essential.

“This is an example of really interacting with these student groups.”

During the speaker’s podium section of the meeting, Barb Scott, a representative of the proposed non-traditional student organization asked for the Senate’s support in reinstating the organization’s charter.

Esedebe also thanked the Senate for its help in funding the ABS trip to the Big XII conference.

For Hiemenz’s report, he stressed the importance of voting and spreading the word on voting. He also update the Senate on the Health Center’s changes and the examination of teaching assistant’s pay in comparison to SMU’s benchmark schools.

In a repeated plea from previous reports, Vice President Liz Healy encouraged senators to do their office hours in her report.

“It’s not going to go away until ya’ll do them,” she said. “Last week I think there were about 10 of ya’ll who did them.”

Secretary Travers addressed Senate absences in his report and reiterated Hiemenz’s encouragement of voting.

In matters of old business, a bill to fund $950 to the Persian Student Society to bring a film screening and speaker was tabled. A bill to fund Amnesty International with $1,000 was postponed.

Next week, Senate will vote on a bill to fund SMU Mock Trial with $4,210 for attendance at the national competition, a bill to fund $859 to the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs for DMSA gala decorations and a bill to encourage the SMU Management to investigate the possibilities for future outdoor recycling on campus.

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