Six Student Association senators have resigned from their elected positions before the start of the school year, leaving the Senate with a total of ten vacancies.
Mushfique Shams Billah (Law), Tyler Hartman (SPHHS-U), Brittany Maschal (GSHED), Jason Pearl (Law), Rashmi Raja (SEAS-G) and Sean Williamson (G-At Large) all told Rules Committee Chair Jamie Baker (CPS-G) that they would not be returning to the Senate.
They cited a variety of reasons for the departures, like new commitments and heavy workloads. Three transferred from GW.
“I am resigning my Senate position because I do not think I would have enough time to effectively represent my constituency,” Williamson said. As a new member of The George Washington University Law Review, he said his other activities would not allow him the time required to work on graduate student issues.
Rashmi Raja said she was in a similar situation, and between her internship and course load, could not give the Senate her full dedication.
Baker said that having a few senators resign over the summer is to be expected.
“There are usually a couple of senators who realize they have taken on too much of a load, got a job that they were not expecting or transfer to another school,” said Baker, adding that he and Executive Vice President Jason Lifton had discussed the possibility of some senators choosing not to return.
“We are both committed to having a full and accountable Senate, therefore we asked senators if they were going to resign, to do so sooner rather than later,” Baker said.
In May, the Senate-elect had only four unfilled seats, a low number compared to previous years. Lifton said that even with these newest resignations, he is looking forward to starting the year with a very full Senate.
“We will get underway with the year as planned and I’m not concerned in the least bit about the open seats holding us back,” Lifton said.
Of the six resigning senators, two sat on the Finance Committee, two sat on the Academic Affairs Committee, one was on the Rules Committee and one was on the Student Life Committee.
Billah and Maschal, both graduate student senators, were on the Finance Committee. The Hatchet previously reported in May that six of the eight of the Finance Committee members were graduate students, giving them a three-quarter majority. Neither Billah nor Maschal responded to Hatchet e-mails.
Interested Senate applicants will be interviewed by the Rules Committee and require confirmation by the existing Senate. Baker expects the first few Senate meetings will include confirmation votes to approve new members.