The 48th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously passed a bill that establishes a University Senate student caucus and enforces existing attendance policies.

College senior, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Council and University-wide Senator James Crowe authored the bill and spoke on behalf of the University Senate. The University Senate oversees anything that affects more than one division of the University, such as the Code of Conduct, and has 12 voting student members. Membership also includes faculty and staff.

The current attendance policy for the University Senate states that “If Senate members have two unexcused absences in a row or four absences in the academic year from regularly scheduled Senate meetings, they may be expelled from the Senate,” according to the text of the bill.

“People just didn’t show up,” Crowe said. “There are only eight meetings [throughout the year].”

According to Crowe, the bill calls upon the Senate Executive Committee to help enforce this policy.

The bill also stipulates that the three ex officio, non-voting SGA members that serve on the Executive Committee who fail to meet the attendance policy should be referred to the SGA Governance Committee.

Crowe said attendance is crucial because this is the only avenue by which students can directly create legislation and enact change.

“If these students aren’t showing up, they shouldn’t be representing the student body,” Crowe said.

Crowe also stated that artificial boundaries to attendance, like class meetings, for example, could be negotiated with professors of each division because instructors have a “responsibility to act in ways that are consistent with the best interest of the University.”

The second component of the bill calls for the establishment of a student caucus for the University Senate that is made up of the 12 members representing the student body.

Crowe said the purpose of a caucus is so that students have “a coherent policy agenda” during University Senate meetings.

A member of the Legislature asked whether the caucus would be formal or informal.

Crowe said it is up to the members of the Senate to determine that, but it could be very informal. He added that it simply required the caucus leader to communicate with other student members and organize an agenda and definitive and coordinated policies.

The purpose of the caucus, Crowe elaborated, is so “these members are actually trying to affect change, and the Senate hears those concerns.”

The Legislature unanimously passed the bill.

Next week, SGA will be discussing and voting on a resolution that calls for the banning of Yik Yak, an anonymous social forum application, from the University’s wireless network.

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