Student Senate elects new speaker

Chrissy Miller, Administration Reporter

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The Student Senate swore in new senate members, elected a new speaker and tabled bylaw changes at its final Wednesday night meeting of the semester.

18 members of the senate voted for senate member Will Outzen to become speaker for the Fall 2017 semester. Danny Estrada, current chair of the diversity committee, voted no confidence in Outzen.

Estrada said because of outside conversations with Outzen, he had personal reasons for voting no confidence, though he is still willing to work with the new speaker.

“In my eyes, just from a difference of opinion when trying to communicate with him, some things did not line up,” Estrada said. “At the end of the day, I do wish him luck. In order to further advance student government and to help the student body we have to work together regardless of our difference of opinions.”

Senate member Claire Boarman said she voted for Outzen because she believes the things he has accomplished in Student Senate this year are proof he is prepared for this position.

“He will continue to reach out to the community and the students on campus,” Boarman said. “It feels like we are cohesive with our government and the city of Charleston as a whole.”

Boarman said Outzen has helped strengthen this bond by reaching out to local businesses and inviting Charleston City Council members to attend last week’s Student Senate meeting.

Outzen said even with Estrada’s no confidence vote, he is optimistic about what he will be able to accomplish as speaker.

“It’s really important that when we actually have these debates, if you don’t feel confident with something and you don’t feel right about it, you vote the way you feel you have to,” Outzen said. “You don’t go along with the crowd.”

During the meeting, the decisions on multiple bylaw changes to diversity requirements, including one requiring senators to go to a certain amount of diversity events, were tabled.

Outzen said though it is unfortunate the diversity requirements are being delayed, it was necessary to give next semester’s senators a voice.

“I think it affects all the students because every student who doesn’t go misses out on an opportunity to learn about other cultures and to learn about the problems minority students face,” Outzen said. “I don’t care if you’re a minority or majority senator, an opportunity to learn should never be passed up.”

Estrada said the Student Senate could have done much better when it came to matters of diversity. The lack of attendance by senators at diversity events was particularly discouraging, he added.

“It needs to be a huge thing here on campus and I don’t think that we should be saving face,” Estrada said. “We need to be talking about diversity, we need to be participating within diversity because if we don’t participate in diversity, what’s the point of representing 200 students each?”

Estrada said the bylaw changes would help hold senators accountable instead of just “giving them a slap on the wrist.”

Ean Watson, a sophomore physics major and Zaria Greene, a sophomore political science major, were both sworn in as new Student Senate members. Estrada was also sworn in for a new term.

The Student Senate approved two new registered student organizations, Aesthetics, a fitness-focused group and Progressives, a political organization.

Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]