Senate to vote on new speaker, discuss budget allocation

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Student senators will vote on a new speaker of the senate and discuss seven bills at their meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Arcola-Tuscola room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Senator Christopher Pickard is running unopposed for speaker this week after his former opponent Katie St. John resigned from student senate last week to recover from injuries and focus on classes after a recent car accident.

“I know I can do it,” Pickard said in response to being the future speaker. “I may not be eloquent but I know I can do it.”

Pickard said if he becomes speaker, he would like to strive to obtain productive office hours for senators.

Pickard also said he wants to further expand the communication between both student government and the student body.

“I’m nervous and excited,” Pickard said. “I’m curious to see how the discussion will go.”

Student Body President Shirmeen Ahmad said senators have three options when it comes to voting for the speaker.

“They can either vote for him, vote for no confidence, meaning they have no confidence in him (Pickard) or abstain from voting, ” Ahmad said.

Ahmad said the student government is prepared with a backup plan in case there is a vote of no confidence.

The Student Senate will suspend the bylaws and open nominations up that night in order to have a candidate or candidates to vote for at the next meeting, Ahmad said.

“It still gives senators a week to discuss and decide who the best person is,” Ahmad said. “We wanted to be ready so we want to make sure we know what we’re doing.”

Ahmad said senators need that extra week to fully think about whom they want to vote for instead of voting under pressure and knowing nothing about the candidates.

“I just hope that they vote and actually voice their opinion and don’t think that just because he is the only candidate they have to vote for him,” Ahmad said. “Don’t go with the flow. It’s important that everyone votes the way they want to vote.”

Senators will have a brief discussion about the candidate and then take a vote. They will also discuss several bills and a bylaw change.

Representatives from the apportionment board will present their decision on the budget allocation for apportionment board, student government, university board and the student recreation center.

According to the bill, the apportionment board approved $50,233 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Pickard said senators will have this meeting to ask questions regarding the allocation and then take a vote next week.

He said the senators cannot be nitpicky and must vote yes or no to the approved budgets.

Ahmad said one thing student government asked the apportionment board for was a grad assistant that will work solely for student government.

Ahmad said the student government decided to include funding for a grad assistant in their budget because they needed a stable assistant.

“Normally, the university student affairs office covers that cost (for the assistant) but since that office is always running low on funds and it’s always on and off so we never know if we can get someone,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad also said that by the time student government is told they will get an assistant it seems like all the good people have been taken.

“So this just keeps it stable and we know a person who is specifically for us and not jumping around from board to board,” Ahmad said. “(We want) a central person making sure we’re all united and working together.”

Ahmad said the meeting was pushed up from its original 7 p.m. start time because student government wanted to attend the Take Back the Night march. Ahmad also said there will not be committee or executive reports at this session for the same reason.


Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]