On Feb. 18, the Student Government Association (SGA) senate voted on a resolution that will substitute all hall senator positions with class senators positions as of next academic year. The resolution passed with a five-vote majority.
The proposal aims to increase the amount of representation for each student class year in SGA, maximizing the efficacy of solving unique, class-related issues.
International Student Senator Zhanat Seitkuzhin ’22 is one of the many staunch supporters of this change.
“Everyone understands that it is a needed change to make the Senate more efficient,” Seitkuzhin said.
Seitkuzhin believes that the multiple senators representing each class year will provide SGA with four cohesive yet unique voices. He notes that with this change, however, will come a shift in the dynamics of the Senate.
“This position is also going to be challenging because it is more responsibility and there are more people to represent,” Seitkuzhin said.
The proposal designates three representatives for the first-year class, while the second, third and fourth year classes will have two representatives each. Hoyme Hall Senator Logan Graham ’23, Inter-Hall Council Chair Elie Nederloe ’21 and Ytterboe Hall Senator Linh Nguyen ’22, all who authored this proposal, reasoned that first-years are the ones that are in need of most guidance, which is why they would need three representatives. Each class year will also be given a sum of $500 to host class-year-specific events in order to further develop class community.
Although this change has not been met with much opposition, Larson Hall Senator Sasha Kazharskaya ’21 raised some concerns about the potentially tenuous communication between the class body and their elected class senators.
“If you’re a class rep., there are too many people that you have to represent as opposed to if you were a hall senator,” Kazhaskaya said.
Despite this criticism, she acknowledged its appeal.
“Different year groups have different needs,” Kazharskaya said. “It is kind of out of place because [hall senators] are representing the whole dorm with several year groups, with exception to freshman dorms.”
While election guidelines for class year senators are almost exactly the same as for all other senators, there is a slight difference: these new senators must obtain at least 25 signatures from students within their own class year as opposed to just any student’s signature.
Additionally, a student candidate can only run for the class year senator position within their own year. Thus, in order for the three first-year senators to be elected, they must be elected no later than Oct. 1 of their first year.
This proposal offers new SGA opportunities to first-year students that were not available in previous years.
“Unlike the freshmen, all sophomores, juniors and seniors can run for any position in the Senate,” Graham said, “which is why we want to have three freshmen senators.”
Graham, who was a key figure in the formulation of this resolution, stated that Residence Life is much better at tackling specific dorm problems, as these are outside of SGA’s purview.
“The people in Rand don’t necessarily have anything so in common that they need a particular voice in the Senate,” Graham said. “Freshmen are worried about adjusting to college, sophomores about declaring a major.”