By Sophie Foster
At the Senate meeting held on April 19, the Washington College Student Government Association voted to amend their constitution and bylaws to introduce a Cabinet system to cultivate student advocacy. According to the Senate minutes, this resolution was passed with 39 votes in favor and two in opposition.
The notion of a Cabinet has been a subject of discussion throughout the semester. According to previous Elm coverage, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted student intrigue in event attendance, leading class officers to develop an interest in branching out to best represent their respective classes.
While class officers cannot run for these Cabinet positions themselves, they will be able to advocate for Cabinet positions and work closely with those elected. According to the minutes, this decision was made to prevent “one person running for multiple positions [and taking] away the voice of other students” and to “adhere to the concepts of democratic representation.”
Additionally, the minutes state that all nominees must already be senators or be willing to become senators so they can report to the Senate as they enact the duties of their office. The nominations will be open to the entire campus.
Parliamentarian junior Maegan White pointed to this year’s introduction of the role of Public Safety liaison as an indication of the likelihood of positive results for this endeavor.
“This past year, we saw great success with the PS liaison position, including [having] one person with all of their focus completely on a topic important to the student body, and streamlining communication between the students and the PS department. It also allowed more students to get involved in advocacy… At the same time, the position also encountered some obstacles, including lack of clear… responsibilities.”
According to the legislation, to combat this issue, each chair or liaison position will be given a detailed list of responsibilities. In reporting back to the Senate, they will ensure lines of communication are kept open between students and representatives, and keep the Senate informed to best guarantee success. The Cabinet will work directly with the class officers to represent each class.
Since the topics that are most important to the student body are subject to change as years pass, every year, the Constitutional Review Committee will create a resolution indicating the issues that are most relevant on campus, suggest positions to address them, and highlight the duties of said positions. These recommendations will be made based on Auxiliary Committee meetings to platform students, discussions with Senate committees and affinity groups, and surveys.
Each year, there will be between three and six positions — such as, potentially, PS liaison or Residential Life chair — that will be proposed within the first three Senate meetings of the fall semester.
According to White, “this is an opportunity for more students to get involved and advocate for the student experience… while the positions won’t be elected until the fall, we will be working on some baseline surveys and Auxiliary Committee meetings for students to provide input, so students can get involved now.”
While amendments to the SGA bylaws only need to be passed twice by the Senate to go into effect, making these bylaw changes final, amendments to the constitution must both be passed by the Senate and approved by the student body. The second half of this process was addressed in a student vote that took place on Tuesday, May 3, according to White.
Questions about this change can be directed to White at firstname.lastname@example.org, or brought to her office hours, which are held between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays; 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays; and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Fridays.
Photo by Jon Kelly
Featured Photo Caption: On April 19, the Washington College Student Government Association voted to amend their current Constitution and now will begin the process of introducing a reformed Cabinet system in the 2022-23 academic year.