SA Senate widens eligible application pool for vacant seats to all graduate students

Media Credit: Danielle Towers | Assistant Photo Editor

The changes were part of a push to encourage more students to apply for vacant senate seats after no students applied for these school-specific positions during the past month.

Updated: June 20, 2021 at 1:19 p.m.

The Student Association Senate converted nine graduate senator seats to at-large positions in an effort to fill more vacancies in the senate during a meeting Monday.

Senators converted three graduate Columbian College of Arts and Sciences seats, two graduate School of Business seats and two Graduate School of Education and Human Development seats to graduate at-large seats and senators converted the two School of Nursing seats to general at-large seats. The changes were part of a push to encourage more students to apply for vacant senator positions after no students applied for these school-specific seats during the past month.

The senate opened applications for 14 vacant senator positions last month, including 12 graduate seats. SA Sen. Cordelia Scales, SEAS-U and senate chairperson pro tempore, said opening the applications to more students will help fill the remaining seats to ensure a full senate can pass legislation and approve budgets.

The senate hit a record high number of 21 graduate senator applications to fill five vacancies last October. More than one third of the SA senate was vacant at the start of the fall semester in 2019 due to a rise in resignations over the summer break.

“People had three weeks to apply to these seats so if they had wanted to serve them as a school seat they should have already applied by now,” Scales said.

Scales said 19 students have applied for four school-specific seats, which she hopes to fill by the next senate meeting scheduled for June 28.

The senate confirmed rising junior MacAlister Steckler as an undergraduate senator for the School of Business. Steckler and rising senior and former SA presidential candidate Christian Zidouemba both applied for the seat, and senators elected Steckler during executive session.

The senate unanimously approved legislation to establish seven secretaries, previously called vice presidents, within the executive branch. This legislation was tabled at the previous two meetings because  not enough senators were present to approve it with a two-thirds majority.

The senate also unanimously approved SA members to serve on 10 different Faculty Senate committees, including the athletics and recreation and the educational policy and technology committees. Senators also unanimously approved seven SA members to serve on the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students, a group of Faculty Senate and Student Association members who meet monthly to discuss issues related to the GW community.

Senators unanimously confirmed rising junior David Lee to serve as the senate’s deputy chief of staff. The senate unanimously approved other senate staff members, like the chief of staff and parliamentarian positions, at a senate elect meeting last month.

The senate will meet June 28 to confirm four more nominees to the remaining senate vacancies and prepare for the next academic year.

This post was updated to correct the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the senate elected Steckler and rising senior and former SA presidential candidate Christian Zidouemba as undergraduate senators for the School of Business. Zidouemba was not elected. We regret this error.

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