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SGA discusses House of Representatives proposal

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Marshall University’s Student Government Association met 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 in the Memorial Student Center Room 2w22 to discuss the House of Representatives proposal.

The main topic on the table was the concept of a House of Representatives that was proposed two Senate meetings ago by Student Body President Hunter Barclay and Vice President Hannah Petracca.

“The central idea behind this proposal is to promote more interaction between the Student Government Association and student organizations,” Petracca said.

Abbie Short, the cabinet member representing athletics, said some organizations are already interested in the idea of a House of Representatives.

The Club Sports organization approached me and asked me about the House of Representatives,” Short said. “They wanted to know about it and wanted to know how they could get involved.”

Under Barclay and Petracca’s proposal, SGA would consist not only of the student Senate, but also a House of Representatives made up by representatives from student organizations. These representatives would be able to draft legislation and review funding request bills before those pieces of legislation move to Senate for approval. The House of Representatives would require a quorum of 20 percent of the 203 student organizations on campus to physically present in these meetings, or be able to vote by proxy.

Petracca and Barclay drafted a resolution for the senate to look over and bring up comments, questions and concerns.

“Keep in mind when you read the resolution and make comments that with this draft, we have taken into consideration your concerns from the last meeting,” Petracca said. “Kindly take into consideration that we took you all into consideration.” 

The draft generated discussion and debate.

Jo Tremmel, Senate Parliamentarian, said she was concerned with the deadline.

“This draft gives us until the end of this fall semester to draft a Constitutional amendment, including by-laws,” Tremmel said. “That’s more time than a month, but it’s still not enough time.”

Senator Tanner Drown said the House of Representatives might create a bias when it comes to the issue of funding.

“It may give way to that 20% showing up and pushing funding in the direction of their own interests,” Drown said.

Senator Jacob Gressang suggested getting the input of more student organizations before the proposal moves forward.

“I really like this idea, but maybe we could create a survey similar to the one we made available to students about Jenkins Hall,” Gressang said. “That way, we can get meaningful feedback.”

Benjamin Stein is a senator and is also involved with Marshall University’s Campus Activities Board. He said he likes the idea of a House of Representatives to bridge the gap that exists between CAB and SGA.

“I think this idea is great to get students involved in student government, and also to get students to serve as CAB liaisons,” Stein said. “It’s a great way to bridge that gap that exists between student government and our organizations.”

There was a move to close discussion after an hour of Open Forum. No conclusion to this proposal was reached this week, but Barclay said it is a work in progress.

“We are continuing to get your feedback and build upon this idea,” Barclay said.

Hannah Graham can be contacted at [email protected]

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