Recently, a number of new Student Government [SG] senators were appointed to vacant positions left open after elections. Some students contacted SG about the vacancies but were told that positions were already filled, and the fact that there were vacant positions available was largely unknown among the student body.
Some students feel that SG did not do a sufficient job in publicizing the vacancies.
Anand Vakharia inquired to apply for a Senate position, but by then it was too late.
“[SG] told me there might be a position in the Supreme Court,” Vakharia said. “They seemed to have already picked out the candidates to fill the vacancies.”
Jeff Miller, speaker of the Senate, said the process for filling vacancies is actually very systematic and outlined in the SG Constitution.
When a Senate seat is vacated, either because no one ran for the position or because of excessive absences, applications are available to anyone interested.
“We publicize the seats, we post them on the [SG office] door, or on Ibis News,” said Miller, though he noted that SG didn’t send an announcement on Ibis News for the recent vacancies.
Anyone who wishes to run must fill out an application. If more than four applications are received, a council reviews them, conducts interviews and appoints senators based on their constituencies. For instance, a broadcasting major is more likely to be appointed to a School of Communication seat than a biology major.
Miller said that students find out about vacant positions through various methods. Emily Ershowsky, recently appointed School of Communication senator, found out by word of mouth. Her brother, Michael Ershowsky, is currently commuter senator. Arjun Parasher, who filled a vacancy for the College of Arts and Sciences, was working with Mike Levine, College of Arts and Sciences senator, on a committee to bring Middle Eastern and Asian Studies to campus. Parasher joined the committee through the Indian Students Association.
According to Miller, Parasher found out about the position “simply by getting involved.” He said usually people approach SG about the positions.
College of Arts and Sciences seats are generally the most competitive, as well as the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior senator seats. Miller said SG received five or six applications for a College of Arts and Sciences seat.
Patricia Escuder, Senate speaker pro-tempore, said that the word-of-mouth way of advertising the vacancies turned out more applicants than previous methods of advertisement. Vakharia was still unsatisfied with not being able to apply for a vacant seat.
“Next time, they should make it more publicized to allow more qualified candidates to run,” Vakharia said.
There are still four Senate seats available for student organizations to fill.
>> For more information on SG senate, contact Jeff Miller at SGSpeaker@miami.edu.
Jay Rooney can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.