MVC works to determine future of student government

As Mount Vernon College moves toward incorporation into GW, its students face confusion as to just what school they attend. And MVC’s student leaders must determine whether their student government will remain separate, or fuse with GW’s Student Association.

MVC students are likely to accept a non-voting SA Senate seat on a trial basis for one year, according to MVC Student Government Association President Bethany Miller.

Miller said a vote to accept or reject the offer will be open to all returning MVC students, and will be held in the next few weeks.

“I anticipate the students will accept it,” Miller said.

SA President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar said Sen. Frank Vitolo (Law) is working on a resolution to ensure the senatorial status of MVC is reevaluated at this time next year.

“It’s going to be a year in transition,” Golparvar said.

The agreement came after Miller asked Golparvar to veto the bill creating the seat because of the uncertain future of the SGA at Mount Vernon, Miller said.

Miller said she supported the seat on a trial basis after Golparvar indicated he could not veto the proposal because the resolution was not limited to MVC. The proposal also creates undergraduate and graduate seats for the School of Public Health and Human Services.

Golparvar said that although he could have vetoed the bill, after consulting with Miller, they decided an experimental one-year, non-voting seat would be a compromise with which both schools could be happy.

Both said not enough discussion took place between GW and MVC before the original proposal was called up for a vote. Golparvar said he only learned of the proposal the night before the vote, and he immediately called Miller.

Miller, who described communication between the two student governments as “semi non-existent,” said the SGA would have taken action to influence the proposal if it knew about it earlier. Miller said she learned of the proposal from The GW Hatchet.

Many Mount Vernon students said they feel they are not well informed and that GW students do not show interest in MVC.

“I think (GW students) have prejudged the situation here,” Miller said.

Other student leaders said they were concerned with the conduct of GW and the SA on this issue.

“The way they voted was not what should have happened,” said Jen Dawson, a student leader on the MVC Program Board. She expressed concern that student leaders at MVC were not included in the proposal’s creation.

She said if MVC was notified earlier, a meeting to determine what students wanted would have been held. MVC students continue to have a voice and have the final say in the student governments’ future, Dawson said.

At MVC, the student body votes on any decisions that will effect students, Miller said. A town hall meeting tentatively is scheduled for March 2 to select a vote-date about the SA Senate seat – and how next year’s student government should be structured, she said.

The student government is conducting a student survey to discern MVC student opinion about the SGA’s future, Miller said.

Miller said she plans to propose an independent government system with a seat on the SA Senate.

Golparvar said he feels this type of structure would be best for MVC, but that a big question remains about funding. Until 1999, MVC has funding to support its student government. After that, how the University allocates money will play a large part in the form of student government at MVC.

Grae Baxter, interim dean of MVC, called the offer of a non-voting seat a “very gracious gesture,” but said the action might have been premature. She said the main concern now is what role MVC’s government will assume.

She said she wonders how GW students who go to Mount Vernon can remain enfranchised as GW students, while Mount Vernon maintains its own substructure.

“I totally understand the non-voting seat when you are talking about Mount Vernon students,” she said. “I think the issue comes up when you are talking about GW students.”

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