SGA to Reduce Membership Next Semester
All 22 voting members present at the Feb. 21 SGA meeting voted for the proposed reduction. PHOTO BY STEVEN TUTHILL.
BY STEVEN TUTHILL
Senators voted in favor of downsizing the senate body next semester in last week’s meeting.
One of the reasons for the downsize is due to SGA’s struggles to fill in seats. Although there are currently 44 seats open, only 38 of them have been filled.
The 44 seats consist of five executives, a speaker of the house, six senators per four classes, six senators at large and a president and vice president for each class. However, SGA voted to reduce the number of senators per class from six to four and eliminate the class vice president position.
SGA Treasurer Daniel Epler, ’18, said during the meeting that another motive for downsizing is to restore competitiveness to elections. He said that SGA was hopeful that by reducing the number of seats, it will make membership more exclusive and encourage more people to run.
Junior Class President Manfredo Flores said that SGA was struggling to maintain membership.
“The junior class currently has only four SGA senators out of six, and there’s no vice president,” Flores said.
SGA has also had problems with senator attendance at meetings.
SGA Vice President Lydia Creech, ’19, who was acting as president for the meeting, said that part of the reason for the downsize is due to a difficulty in meeting quorum. In order to pass this motion, the senate needed a two-thirds majority of votes, or at least 66.67 percent. Of 32 the voting members, only 22 of them, 68.75 percent, attended last Tuesday’s meeting. If one member had voted against the reduction, the senate would have been forced to table the vote until they had enough members there to try and vote again.
Speaker of the House Isaac Coronel, ’17, said that the reasoning behind the reduction was because, “The overall reason is because SGA is dying out.”
“People just don’t care,” Coronel said. “People used to want to be in the senate because of its reputation. Now, you don’t need to be a part of a bigger system to get your voice heard. The good thing about SGA is that they try to make the campus a better place. But SGA needs to have some kind of purpose.”
He pointed to SGA helping to pass the Efficiency Fund two years ago as a positive change that SGA helped to bring about.
“If they can convince the Board of Trustees to do something they can make positive changes,” Coronel said. “I just don’t think people realize that.”
However, the reduction can be reversed based on the school’s student population. Per the amendment, if Westminster has more than 1,000 students, there will be six senators per class, with 900-1,000, there will be five senators per class and if there are 800-900 students, there will be four senators per class. The population will be determined based on the school’s census estimation at the beginning of the semester.