News, Student Government

Senate enacts structural changes in last hearing

Several students, including former Student Government President Nawara Alawa, were ushered out and denied the permission to speak in Senate Chambers Wednesday evening.

“It’s unfortunate that senators felt the need to restrict the voices of constituents who sat in a meeting for over two hours,” Alawa said.

They were asked to leave before the discussion of the bill that Arts and Sciences senator Austin Sedaghatpour and SpectrUM Senator Jared Payne co-authored. The bill proposed a streamlining of the Senate standing committees and described a legislative overhaul that would a create a more organized and accountable model of Senate, Sedaghatpour said.

“Right now the students don’t have a voice,” Sedaghatpour said. “There needs to be some kind of reform.”

The new Senate structure would be composed of three standing committees – University Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Policy and Finance. Each Senate seat will already hold a place on the committee that best suits their constituents, whereas the current system allowed senators to choose their committee.

“The student body votes senators to perform a certain role,” said Efrem Silverman, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences who was one of the students asked to leave the meeting. “Really they’re civil servants, and I feel like my voice should be heard there.”

Many who strive to listen to their constituents like Tyler Franz, the senior class senator, voted to deny the students’ speaking privileges because of time constraints.

“Of course I want to hear their opinions,” he said. “But we were limited to one minute of speaking time … it was strictly a time thing.”

Others like School of Communication Senator Alana Schmidt, however, were appalled by the decision of her colleagues and felt that senators should be more accountable to their constituents.

“I was shocked … that as Senate we couldn’t agree to make time for them,” she said. “I feel that we do need to be held accountable, and the way [Senate is] set up now, we are not.”

Prior to the students’ dismissal from Chambers, other legislation that the Executive and Judicial branches proposed were passed.

“One of the things we ran on was kind of revamping Student Government,” Vice-President Justin Borroto said.

He, along with President Bhumi Patel, Treasurer Robert Chiste and other members of the Executive Board, submitted legislation that addressed the specific duties of the vice-president, the creation of a Programming Committee and Campus Liaison Council in lieu of the advisory boards, and the development of the Freshmen Leadership Council.

“On one end it’s improving the efficiency on the internal side of things,” he said. “But really it’s setting up a way to make sure we’re giving back to students, and students have the most say in things.”

The Programming Committee and the Campus Liaison Council were two initiatives created to streamline communication within SG. The two entities serve as single channels by which all areas of SG will plan events and contact administrators.

The new Freshman Leadership Council will serve as a mentorship program for freshman looking to get involved with SG. These freshmen will be able to learn how to enhance their lives on campus with resources like the Toppel Career Center and the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, according to Borroto.

On the judicial front, Chief Justice Ricardo Fraga authored 11 amendments regarding the Organization Constituency seats of Senate.

Each year, the Court is charged with the responsibility of reviewing each of these seats’ efficiency. After their review and recommendations, Senate voted to retain all Organization Constituency seats.

April 25, 2013

Reporters

Jordan Coyne


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.