SGA tackles senate’s numbers — again

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Saint Louis University’s Student Government Association (SGA) faced a controversial meeting on Wednesday evening as the issue of reforming the organization came into business. SGA has been battling this issue since the beginning of the academic school year and attempts to make the student organization more efficient than it has been in the past. However, until now, these attempts have been fruitless. This week’s meeting was a milestone in advancing towards effective reformation, as SGA presented the Senate bill describing potential future modifications to the senate body.

“We took into consideration what the students have said and since modified the bill,” stated Vice President of Diversity and Social Justice and Co-Chair of Association Reform Task Force (ARTF) Amelia Romo.

The ARTF has been working to evaluate and present the most effective options for an SGA reorganization and presented their results to the senates with an optimistic outlook for future efficiency. The reform bill cuts current 62 senate seats to 43. In doing so, SGA hopes to provide a more effective student organization while still providing a representation for each and every SLU student.

The meeting consisted of much debate and questioning about the various seat reforms and SGA President Vidur Sharma reminded the attendees to be “soft on people and hard on issues” when presenting their arguments. Some of the reform ideas faced more opposition than others, and the retention of the two Black Student Alliance (BSA) seats was one of these such issues.

The two BSA seats on SGA and their place in the organization have been questioned in the past and this year was no exception. One of the modification options eliminated these BSA seats, but was faced with strong opposition from a variety of student voices.

Brittany Kendrick, a BSA Senator, reminded her fellow senators of BSA’s history with SGA. In 1969, the group organized a “sit in” protest in Ritter Hall as a result of feeling neglected as a race at SLU and wanting an effective representation and voice at the university. They successfully secured a position on the Student Government Association after this protest and BSA today has no intention of erasing this historical and monumental protest by revoking their seats on SGA.

Kendrick mentioned a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. concerning realists, pessimists and optimists – the most productive of the three being the realists. She called on her fellow senators to acknowledge the importance of having BSA as well as Diversity Leadership Cabinet (DLC) seats in SGA, saying that racial, religious, sexual and other controversial issues are faced by students every day.

Adding four DLC seats was another significant reform that the ARTF came up with, and is an addition in which many of the senators showed enthusiastic support. The four DLC seats would consist of student senates that represent a variety of diversity issues, including socioeconomic status, race, sexuality and religion.

The Graduate Student Association will also gain more representation through the SGA reform bill and looks to have two seats in the future SGA senate body.

Senators celebrated the finalization of the bill and intend to vote on the final form of the bill at next week’s meeting.

“This is a really huge thing…for what it means for SGA and the university in the future,” said Sharma.