The Student Association Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday updating the appointment process for freshman senators.
The bill requires that freshman senators are screened and processed the same way as all other candidates applying for voting seats. The governance and nominations committee will vet the first-year candidates before sending them to the full senate for approval.
Previously, the governance and nominations committee selected the freshman senators and forwarded their choices to individual committees for approval. Each committee would then appoint one senator, according to the SA bylaws.
Under the new bill, freshmen will be assigned to committees based on the preferences they listed in their senate application.
Yannik Omictin, the SA’s chief of cabinet and a former freshman senator, said the bill ensures freshman applicants are approved in the same manner as other senators after the student body supported a referendum in March converting freshman and first-year senators into voting members.
First-year senators can currently attend SA meetings and partake in projects but can’t vote for bills or resolutions. Omictin said giving freshman senators the ability to vote would have violated the bylaws as they stood because freshmen didn’t undergo the same appointment procedures as other senate applicants.
When first-year senators are nominated this year, they will serve as nonvoting members for a semester and convert into U-at-Large voting members during their second semester on the senate, he said.
“This is a way of allowing freshman senators and first-year grad senators a way to have voting rights without violating the constitution,” Omictin said. “It’s allowing freshmen and first-year grad students a voice in the SA.”
Sen. Finley Wetmore, SEAS-U and a sponsor of the bill, said the bill clarifies the freshman senator appointment process early in the year because the nomination process will begin in the coming weeks.
“Right now, it happens in a way that doesn’t really work with how the senate works,” Wetmore said. “It’s kind of odd and clunky.”
The senate also unanimously approved two students’ nominations to the diversity and inclusion assembly – a new group comprised of multicultural student leaders that began accepting applications last week. Senior Danjha Leon and sophomore Noah Shufutinsky will serve in the group.