Editorial: SA needs to replace senators


Editorial Board

The Students’ Association is in a bind with five senators resigning and with no way of replacing them.

At the last SA meeting on Nov. 22 the senators decided it wasn’t a problem and are going to keep those seats open until the regular spring election.

It’s responsible governing to have a policy in place to replace quitting senators. And the SA is skirting the issue by not coming to a consensus about what should be done.

When former Rep. Bill Janklow resigned from the U.S. House in January, South Dakota held an election to replace him – even though his replacement might only be in office six months.

SA advisor Zeno Wicks said SA senators aren’t like legislators because they don’t sponsor bills for their constituents. Instead, the senators’ main job is to decide how much money to give to campus organizations – groups which are open to all students, not just those from a particular college.

Somebody has to allocate our student fee dollars. But senators are also tasked with hearing students’ concerns.

Each Monday senators take their seat behind nameplates etched with the name of their college, or in the case of those representing the student body, at large.

Senators run for election under the banner of a specific college. The system is set up so each college gets a certain number of senators. The SA obviously cares about student representation in government.

Wicks said in our Nov. 16 issue that it would be difficult to find people to replace the leaving senators.

But SA Present Amanda Mattingly said in this week’s story on the front that she’s had a number of people contact her who are interested in getting involved. We have the people – now all we have to do is find a way to get them in.

Some argue training new senators is a hassle. But not having a chunk of our representation because we’re too lazy to train new senators is a disgrace.

SA Vice President Doug Timm said the senators decided not to do anything about it at last Monday’s meeting because they still have a quorum and all the colleges are represented.

But what about next time?

More senators could quit leaving a college underrepresented – a more serious situation – and the SA still wouldn’t have a policy in place to deal with it.

Whether the SA holds a special election or reconsiders the College Council, a clear set of guidelines needs to be put in place.