Student Senate prepares for new speaker, senators

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief


Students were encouraged to vote for the 14 students running for student senators, and executive board members explained the appointing process during Wednesday’s Student Senate meeting.

The ballot will be emailed to students by Student Body President Catie Witt and will be open starting midnight Jan. 19 until Friday Jan. 20.

Once the votes are counted, the student senators who were selected will be sworn in during next week’s meeting and given a chance to participate right away, Luke Young, student vice president of academic affairs said.

The new senators will vote on candidates for Speaker of the Senate. Currently running for that position are graduate student JaLisa Smith and sophomore Felicia Wagner.

Unlike Student Senator positions, where the entire campus can vote, the speaker is only voted on by student senators.

Young said not even the executive board, secretary or advisers can give their input on this vote, so it is imperative to have many senators vote.

“We could of done this right away but we delayed it because the 14 people would not have a chance to vote for the speaker,” he said.

The role of the speaker is to inform the senators, provide orientation for new senators, help with recruiting efforts, keep office hours and make sure Robert’s Rules of Order are upheld during meetings.

Young said Robert’s Rules of Order were established so people will not repeat each other’s comments, to prevent people from talking over one another and ultimately keep meetings running smoothly.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, each speaker candidate will give a five to 10 minute presentation explaining their mission for the position and why they will excel in the role. Two members per candidate will give a speech on why they believe that particular candidate deserves the position.

The Student Government will then discuss the presentations and on Wednesday, Feb. 1, the new speaker will be announced.

After the speaker is selected, senators who qualify can run for community chair positons, who will serve as the leaders of the eight subgroups within Student Government.

Young said these positions are a bit of a time commitment because the chair will have to lead their committee meetings, attend the council of chairs meeting and participate in the general Student Government meetings.

The purpose of the subgroups is to help keep the senators’ focus on specific areas on campus. Having student deans is another means of keeping Student Government updated on the academic colleges, Young said.

The student deans will serve as a liaison between the academic colleges and Student Government.

“They are appointed by the colleges but we want them to be more a part of Student Government. It was originally a Student Government project but we kind of lost control of it,” Young said. “We are trying to bring it back together.”

All of the colleges have agreed to participate this semester and the student deans have already been selected. As vice president for academic affairs, Young will be responsible for maintaining the working relationship between the student deans and Student Government.

The next “Prowlin’ with the Prez” event will be Valentine’s Day-themed on 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 at in the University Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

One of the senators suggested that Billy the Panther dress up as Cupid with a bow and arrow covered in hearts.

Secretary Derek Pierce reminded the senators that Pantherpalooza will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and asked if they could remind the different organizations they are a part of to sign up.


Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].