SA Senate-elect picks four committee chairs

The Student Association Senate-elect met for the first time Monday night to elect its four committee chairs for the 2010-2011 school year.

Senators-elect Amanda Galonek, CCAS-U; Chris Clark, U-At Large; Meredith Waters, SPHHS-U; and Dylan Pyne, CCAS-U, will chair the Rules, Finance, Academic Affairs, and Student Life committees, respectively.

“I thought it was important for an incumbent [senator] to be Rules [Committee] chair,” said Amanda Galonek, one of this year’s non-voting freshman senators.

Galonek added that her previous experience with the senate would be helpful when reviewing the candidates who come before the Rules Committee for executive and legislative positions within the SA.

Meredith Waters, the new Academic Affairs Committee chair and another one of this year’s freshman senators, said she wants to improve service learning and spearhead Gelman renovations next year.

“I’m looking forward to aligning the administration’s goals with the students’ wants and needs,” Waters said. “‘Academic Affairs is really what we are all here for.”

At the beginning of the meeting, current Student Life Committee chair Michael Komo endorsed Dylan Pyne for the new chair position. Pyne, a sophomore who currently serves as vice chair on the Student Life Committee, said he wants to increase communication between students and faculty.

“If we spoke more, we would learn that we have a lot more in common than we think,” Pyne said of faculty and students, adding that he is eager to bring the groups closer together.

Newly reelected Finance chair Chris Clark said he has several changes in mind for the upcoming year.

“I think the mid-year review process can change,” said Clark, a sophomore, adding that he wants to create guidelines to make the cosponsorship process “a lot more transparent.” Clark has been serving as vice chair of this year’s Finance Committee.

Having both undergraduate and graduate senators on next year’s committee “will keep everything fair,” Clark added.

The senate-elect also passed a bill to allow the Rules Committee-elect and Finance Committee-elect to legally meet before the SA transition takes place April 28.

Earlier this year, two senators were temporarily suspended after missing three consecutive committee meetings. One of them later sued current Executive Vice President Jason Lifton and Sen. Erik Ashida, their committee chair, in student court, alleging that one of the missed committee meetings had been held unconstitutionally because it took place before the SA transition.

The legislation passed Monday is designed to prevent a similar problem from taking place next year.

At the beginning of the meeting, Executive Vice President-elect Rob Maxim said he intends to refocus the senate’s priorities and improve its standing in the eyes of the student body.

“We must focus on our constituents and put them first,” Maxim said.

Jamie Blynn and Samantha Stone contributed to this report.

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