Senate to address fee advisory board
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 23:03
With only four meetings left, the 65th session of Student Senate will meet Wednesday to confirm Student Service Fee Advisory Board members and discuss and vote on pieces of legislation introduced before spring break.
Of the nine students on the Student Service Fee Advisory Board (SSFAB) — a board that makes funding requests from the University Advancement Fee to pay for programs in the Division of Student Affairs — the administration nominates four, leaving the student government with the task of choosing the remaining five.
The speaker of Student Senate, the student body president, the Graduate Student Council president and the SSFAB chair nominate the remaining five potential board members, and Student Senate solidifies the position for the remaining board members with a two-thirds vote.
In making their decision, senators will have the nominated candidates’ resumes and will be able to ask the SSFAB chair questions, according to Scott Bowen, speaker of Student Senate.
After the vote, the meeting will shift into discussion of the nine bills introduced in the March 6 meeting that have left committee.
The Political Science Minor Restoration Bill proposes fixing what bill author Hannah Weger, junior communication major, claims is a deficiency in the College of Liberal Arts.
“Back in the ‘80s, the minor was removed due to a lack of interest,” Weger said. “Now that there is a lot of interest and with the quality of the Bush School, more and more people are wanting to get this minor.”
According to Weger, this bill marks the first formal step in a process to bring back the political science minor.
In addition to Weger’s bill, two University dining bills have been shaped by committee discussion. The first of the two calls for the University to stop requiring the purchase of a new meal plan in order for dining dollars to roll over into another semester. In line with the sentiment of two earlier bills to extend hours of operation at campus locations, the second bill requests that the University extend hours of operation for dining centers on West Campus and new dining locations.
According to Senator Luke Williamson, author of the West Campus Dinner Bill, the bill intends to meet the demands of an increasing flow of students at locations on West Campus.
“None of the [current options] are efficient for people who are spending all of their time going to classes on West Campus,” Williamson said. “Talking about business students especially, there are a lot of business students who don't get off of West Campus.”
Additionally, given the Student Body President John Claybrook’s recent criticisms of Student Senate in The Battalion and an emphasis on constituent awareness throughout the 65th session, the topic of constituent communication has seeped into Senate discussion.
Legislation introduced on March 6 — including the SGA Acceptance and Anti-Discrimination Act and the Texas A&M Voices Act — follow this trend. The former proposes a rule change in the SGA Constitution so that any SGA committee must admit any student who wishes to join, and the latter sets up a system to increase online polling.
According to Robert Cimmino, author of the Texas A&M Voices Act, the bill would require that each email sent campus-wide by either Senate or the student body president include a link to voices.tamu.edu, the proposed new website that would link students to this initiative.
“What [this bill] does for students is they don't have to write a bill, they don't have to try and contact their senator, they don't have to look through extra emails to find something,” Cimmino said. “They have a chance to stumble upon this … It gives them a chance to give us their voice.”