Executive board members of Student Senate hope for productivity at next meeting
By Daniella Snyder, Editor in Chief
Luke Frigon, executive treasurer of Student Senate, hopes to see productive solutions result during tonight’s Senate meeting, in light of a heated discussion last week surrounding the role of club representatives within the senate.
Frigon sees the frustration from both the club representatives and the executive board: he sympathizes with the club representatives who have expressed feeling disenfranchised from Senate without voting rights. However, he also understands the important role of an elected senator and their own right to vote.
“We want clubs to feel represented and included, but senators need to be able to do the job they were elected to do,” Frigon said.
The position of a club representative, according to Frigon, is not an elected position voted on by the entire campus, and is instead either appointed or elected within the individual clubs themselves, while senators and executive board members are positions elected by a campus-wide vote.
The elected positions come with full voting rights. While club representatives currently do not have the right to vote, one aspect of their duty states they are to “voice pertinent concerns” at meetings, according to the Senate constitution.
Senate meetings currently include a “Concerns” section, in which all students are welcome to express complaints or pose potential solutions to problems on campus.
Frigon notes: “If club representatives would like the voting authority that an elected senator holds, they have the opportunity to run for an elected Senator position.”
Interest in holding an elected position in Senate was low this year. “There are some senators currently serving that were not elected because not enough people ran,” Frigon remarked. He argued that this should motivate club representatives and all students to run for elected office.
Andy Kellam was the student senator who moved to table the discussion on club representatives’ role within Senate at last Monday’s meeting. Monday’s meeting was a general meeting that set aside time for a “Clubs Discussion”. Kellam noted that while the topic is important and merited discussion, time constraints prevented the conversation from continuing further, and the discussion should be resumed on the Feb. 27 meeting.
On last week’s meeting, Frigon said, “It was a long conversation, and it was good to hear what they are feeling discouraged about, but I don’t think we will find a solution that will appease everyone.”
Brooke Gutschick, executive secretary of Senate, said she wants to find solutions to the problems: “This starts with listening and seeking to understand what the problems are. It takes commitment on everyone’s part to see the implementation of the solutions though,” she said.
Looking forward to this week’s meeting, executive Senate vice-president Taylor Beck said, “At tonight’s senate meeting I hope to continue what I think is an incredibly important conversation regarding the role of club representatives. Hearing and addressing the grievances of the club reps is crucial to promoting a more inclusive and effective Student Senate.”
Members of the executive board have since discussed potential solutions to work with the club representatives more productively, according to Frigon. The idea of not making every Senate meeting mandatory for every club representative has been discussed, as club representatives have expressed frustration over that specific mandate, as well as the idea of giving the club representatives partial voting rights. Frigon hopes that more solutions will be proposed by club representatives at tonight’s meeting.
Frigon offers his office hours to the entire campus: Fridays from 10-11 in the Student Senate Office. “I want people to come and talk to me. We, as a Student Senate, do care, and we want to make this campus a better place,” he said.
“I firmly believe that this open dialogue will re-energize the student body as we move to make Gettysburg the very best it can be,” Beck said.
Gutschick finds this matter pertinent: “Clubs matter to us. They engage so many of Gettysburg’s students, and as representatives of the student body, we should be doing everything we can to support them,” she said.
The next Student Senate meeting will be held in CUB 260 on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 pm. The Gettysburgian plans to live stream the meeting.