On Tuesday evening, the Student Government Association proposed a bill that would change the way students are represented in SGA.
Senate Bills 85, 86 and 87 would clarify the process of how double majors are counted for representation. They would also change how many petition signatures a Senate candidate needs and would begin to count part-time students as a part of a college’s constituency, respectively. Senate Bill 85 also clarifies when the number of constituents for each college is to be collected in the fall semester.
SGA senator Malachi Petersen, a former editor-in-chief of The Volante, sponsored the bills. He said they would clarify procedures for the future.
“As the election steering committee chair, it’s my job to reapportion the Senate seats and figure out how many petition signatures are needed by each candidate to get on the ballot,” Petersen said. “When I was doing that process last week, I found a number of issues with our current bylaws.”
Under the current bylaws, the number of students is taken from the Registrar’s enrollment numbers. If passed, these bills would clarify how SGA would count student population in order to determine the number of Senate seats needed for each college.
Under a system using duplicates, for example, if a student has a double major in two separate colleges, they are counted as two separate individuals. Currently, using duplicates would add 462 more students to the student body.
However, these bills would only count the student once, under the college of their primary major.
SGA senator and SGA presidential candidate Josh Sorbe said he opposed a non-duplicate counting system because double-major students deserve representation in both of their respective colleges.
“Students who are part of two different colleges should be able to have a voice in their representation in both colleges,” Sorbe said. “The distinction between a first major and a second major isn’t distinct enough to warrant not having representation in the second one.”
Senate bill 86 would also change how many petition signatures a candidate for SGA Senate would need to get on the ballot. Currently, a petition must contain 2.5 percent of a college’s students’ signatures. The bill proposed an increase to five percent.
Senate Bill 87 proposed counting part-time students as part of a college’s constituency. High school students taking online classes would still not be included.
Also at the meeting, the bill to allocate $4,500 of SGA funding to purchase ear plugs for musicians was passed 17-8.
Senator-at-large Michelle Novak, a first-year doctor of audiology student who sponsored the bill, said these earplugs will be a benefit to music students.
“It’s really important because this is something small that SGA can do to protect these musicians’ hearing far into the future,” Novak said.
In addition, SGA also passed a bill amending the current bylaw regarding petitioning for executive officers. The change will allow students to sign the petitions of more than one executive officer candidate.
The amendment will go into effect on March 13, once the new executive officers are sworn in. The current executive officer candidates abstained from the vote on the bill.