SA looks to re-evaluate representation

Heidi Kronaizl News Editor

Students’ Association is proposing Amendment 13-01-A, which reinforces the requirements of ex-officio members, whom represent different student organizations on campus. The amendment had its first reading during the SA meeting on Feb. 3.

Under 13-01-A, ex-officios are to provide a monthly report about their organization’s recent and upcoming activities. They are allowed to voice their opinions, but cannot vote or make motions. Attendance at SA meetings is required, however, attendance and reports by several ex-officio members has been less than what is expected. If poor representation continues, SA will request that the ex-officio be replaced. If the member is not replaced, the seat will be suspended for the rest of the school year. The amendment also states that, “any organization that leaves a seat vacant for a period of three consecutive weeks or more shall have representation removed.” 

“[The] idea is to hold ex-officios to similar standards as senators,” said Sen. Chance Wachholtz, a sponsor of 13-01-A. “ … After three weeks consecutively seemed like a reasonable amount to set. The number is subject to change.”

The SA constitution currently gives ex-officio members one year before their position is eliminated. Although several ex-officios do not attend meetings regularly, the University Program Council, Residence Hall Association, Gay-Straight Alliance and Aim High are a few organizations that attend SA meetings and share reports.

“It [the amendment] seems like a good idea as far as I can tell,” said Aim High president and ex-officio Tyler Carr. “There hasn’t been great attendance. Something like this can promote better attendance at the meetings.”

Several of the organizations have not had any ex-officio members attend the weekly SA meetings this school year.

“We’ve been talking about what to do with ex-officios for a long time … because we haven’t had the best attendance this year,” said SA President Ben Stout. “We’ve notified the advisers of the groups.”

As the amendment currently stands, current ex-officio attendance and performance will cause several groups to lose their representation and ex-officio position with SA.

“It’s a harsh deal, I definitely feel there should be some sort of warning system … just in case if someone forgets, scheduling conflicts or an emergency,” Carr said.

Despite having contacted the groups and the advisers, poor attendance still continues.

“I think if it [the amendment] becomes well known, there won’t be any problems,” Carr said. “The main this is just to communicate and keep everyone informed.”

All student groups that have ex-officio members at SA meetings apply for the position. Student representatives write letters requesting an ex-officio position and describe why they feel they aren’t currently represented. SA keeps these letters on file.         

“A part of good representation is good attendance,” Stout said.  “… A policy change might be needed to correct that issue … not sure if this will be the final change.”

Further discussion on 13-01-A will continue at the next meeting on Feb. 17.