By Emma Reilly
Elm Staff Writer
On Monday, Feb. 22, the Student Government Association’s Constitutional Review Auxiliary Committee convened for a summative final meeting which highlighted the Washington College community’s continued pursuit of transparency.
The committee was created to address concerns surrounding the openness of the hiring and election processes undertaken by the SGA.
These concerns were communicated via oral report to the SGA Senate, according to SGA Parliamentarian and Chair of the Review Board junior Kat DeSantis.
“The SGA as a whole needs to do a better job on educating and communicating the responsibilities of each position, how they get hired, [and] what actually gets accomplished each year,” DeSantis said.
The committee met three times during the fall semester in an effort to generate community dialogue on the topic of Executive Board elections and hiring.
“Some of the major points that I can take away from last semester is that some people suggested that we have more student body input,” DeSantis said.
SGA President senior Elizabeth Lilly suggested the implementation of a student representative to bolster student involvement.
In a process “similar to what we did with the presidential search committee,” the SGA could “solicit input from the broader student body,” Lilly said.
According to Lilly, following a combined application and nomination process, this student representative could be placed on the Review Board – which handles the usual formal hiring process — to ensure the integration of the student body perspective.
Although the CR Auxiliary Committee had considered taking legislative action on this issue, discussion was tabled at the Feb. 22 meeting.
Taking legislative action on this issue would be a major change to the Constitution, according to DeSantis.
For this reason, the committee required a threshold of 15 meeting attendees to vote on whether to continue pursuing new legislation. The attendance of the committee’s fourth meeting did not meet the threshold, so no vote was taken.
“Good things still come from this, even though it may not be a legislative amendment,” DeSantis said.
The CR Auxiliary Committee generated multiple ideas for non-legislative initiatives during its final meeting.
A partnership with The Elm was proposed by Secretary of Service and Community Relations sophomore Meagan White.
According to White, reviving the publication’s weekly SGA board report would allow the SGA to better communicate with the campus community about its initiatives.
Social media was also suggested as a tool for outreach. Instagram posts, videos, or profiles on the SGA’s website may be good ways to educate the campus community about elections and hiring, according to Lilly.
“I think that any sort of…get-to-know-you initiatives about each of the individual secretarial positions…could be really cool,” Lilly said.
Radio Free George is another resource that the SGA could utilize to better inform WC students, according to committee member and freshman Natalie Wisnoski.
Lilly said that interaction with the SGA should not “just start and end with Senate.” Information should be “accessible to all students, regardless of their interaction, or lack thereof, with SGA,” according to Lilly.
The SGA’s goal of achieving transparency does not end with the informational and educational initiatives discussed by the committee.
“Coming up is a new bylaw amendment that kind of outlines the hiring process, because although in practice traditionally the hiring process has been the same year to year, it’s actually not outlined in any sort of governing document,” DeSantis said.
Although the committee does not plan to meet again, this is still an issue that WC students should care about, according to Wisnoski.
“[The SGA is] a select group of students and I just feel like maybe if more of the general population of the school…understood what the SGA did than they’d understand how important it really is and how important those executive positions are, and then would take a great interest in this,” Wisnoski said.
Featured Photo caption: The Student Government Association tabled discussions of amending the Executive Board election and hiring process after four special committee meetings. They were tabled due to lack of attendance at the final meeting. Elm File Photo.