The Oxford College Student Government Association (OxSGA) began the spring semester with a town hall on Jan. 30 as a trial run for Bill 2324OxB01. If passed, the bill will require OxSGA to hold town hall meetings on the last Tuesday of each month to give all Oxford students a platform to address questions and concerns. OxSGA would also host impromptu meetings in the case of “crises or emergencies arising” to give students “immediate support,” according to the bill.

Although OxSGA will not introduce Bill 2324OxB01 to the floor for voting until Feb. 7, First-Year Senator Kenan Bajraktarevic (25Ox), who is sponsoring the bill alongside Vice President of Communications Chase Wallace (25Ox), wrote in a follow-up email to The Emory Wheel that he has “high hopes” the bill will pass.

OxSGA opted to host Tuesday’s town hall to measure student interest and determine if the bill is “worth pursuing,” as it would be a significant addition to the OxSGA code, according to Wallace. Bajraktarevic and Wallace hope that monthly town halls will ensure students’ interests are adequately heard and represented, Wallace wrote in a follow-up email to the Wheel.

OxSGA held a town hall on Jan. 30. (Lauren Yee/Asst. News Editor)

At the town hall, students and OxSGA members discussed topics such as implementing more regulations for curricula and grading, extending dining hall hours, extending meal swipe hours for the Oxford Family Kitchen, reopening the Pierce Cafe and publishing survey results from professor evaluations.

Due to Oxford’s size, Bajraktarevic told the Wheel that most people are affected when an issue arises on campus. 

“That’s how Oxford is,” Bajraktarevic said. “We’re basically a family. We feel the same things because we’re walking around the same halls.”

At the end of the event, Wallace encouraged students to attend future town hall meetings and weekly OxSGA meetings. OxSGA President Toluwanimi Olaleye (24Ox) expressed that despite a low turnout of about 10 people, she enjoyed hearing students’ feedback.

“It was informal and I really appreciated that,” Olaleye said. “Attendance wasn’t as much as I would have liked it to be, but that’s OK. We’re still in the works of making it work.”

Attendee Sara Larson (24Ox) emphasized that the event made her feel seen and heard.

“The idea was innovative and a creative way to get community engagement,” Larson said. “I love to see what Chase and Kenan are doing to grow the visibility of SGA on campus.”

First-year senator candidate Oscar Paredes (25Ox) found the session informative and thought that it portrayed OxSGA in a positive light. The town hall allowed students to familiarize themselves with OxSGA, including the fact that their meetings are open to students, according to Paredes.

Bajraktarevic emphasized that although Oxford students have a close relationship with the administration, town hall meetings are important in establishing a line of communication between OxSGA and students, with OxSGA acting as a “bridge” between students and administrators. He added that the meetings can alleviate some bureaucratic inefficiency.

Olaleye described the spring semester as a “clean slate” to try new things, as well as include spring start and new first-year students in OxSGA.

“For this semester, we really are just … recommitted to our goal of being a mouthpiece for the student body, helping students get what they want in a timely fashion, not making students wait weeks and months to see those changes,” Wallace said. “We want to enact changes that make students’ lives better here at Oxford.”

Likewise, Bajraktarevic hopes to “rejuvenate” OxSGA and make change a concrete reality.

“The more approachable SGA shows itself to be to students, the more students will view SGA in a positive light because, after all, we are fellow students,” Wallace said.

+ posts

Lauren Yee (25Ox) is an Assistant News Editor at the Wheel. She is from Hong Kong, and is majoring in Religion. Outside of the Wheel, Yee serves on the boards of the Phi Gamma Literary Society and the Oxford Ensemble of Shakespearean Artists. In her free time, you can find her playing the alto saxophone, watching musicals or enjoying an iced oat milk latte!