Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously voted yes to the constitution revision that proposed using a unicameral system, thus combining the House and Senate.
SGA’s president, Colten Sheffield said, “So the goal, what we did, is we’re hoping to bring back the student Congress and combine the House and Senate.”
Sheffield reflected on the time spent with Chancellor Student Advisory Council and said he learned that Tarleton State University was the only college in the Texas A&M System and probably in the state of Texas to use a bicameral system.
Sheffield said the reason why this change was thought-up was because the bicameral system is “inefficient and nothing gets done.”
Sheffield explained the process to pass a bill took too long with a bicameral system.
“We had a bill presented in Senate and it was passed to add more greenery to campus facilities. That would have to be written, presented to Senate, following a week later, be presented to House,” Sheffield said. “If House doesn’t pass it, it goes back to Senate and so we see a lot of this back and forth and that’s why we don’t have very much legislation anymore.”
Sheffield also said the House didn’t entirely represent the student body. Sheffield proposed to add more seats to the Congress to include commuter students, multicultural organizations, interfraternal councils, a congress person at large (any students can be subjected to this position), Corps of Cadets and the College of Human Services and Health Sciences, which houses nursing, social work and more.
Mike Leese, associate vice president of student affairs/dean of student and the advisor for SGA for the past 20 years said, “I believe it is much more effective with the same group of students meeting each week, with all of the campus groups represented that should be and SGA being open-minded about adding groups that may have been left out, such as the Student Veterans Association last night and minority student groups in the past.”
Once the floor was open for questions, Sarah Jacobs with the Criminal Justice Association asked if student veterans could be represented in the congress with a seat of their own.
This suggestion was amended into the constitution with a majority vote.
Delta Phi Epsilon’s SGA representative, Heather asked, “How would students go about funding requests?”
Sheffield said a request would be written as a bill and be presented to the student congress.
Jay Helmer with the Psychology Club added, that current organizations must be involved for the past year to receive funding, “but this [new] change would eliminate that requirement.”
The revisions approved in the constitution will take place fall 2017.
Leese said, “In all honesty, I was very surprised that the process went as smoothly as it did.”
“I am looking forward to the new student Congress, assuming approval by the upcoming student vote, being much more representative of the student voice and much better able to accomplish what is of significance to the student body,” Leese said.