Tensions are on the rise in the student senate over a proposed bill which will change the number of times the student senate is required to meet on Davis campus from two to one.
The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Parker Hughes and Sen. Zachary Bliss, will be put to a vote Feb. 13.
Jeffery Henry, legislative vice president, is in favor of the bill. Henry emphasized the difficulty the senate has faced in the past few semesters with transportation to and from Davis campus.
“The problem with meeting at Davis is I have to have 15 senators present to open an official senate session,” Henry said. “In all the six years I’ve been involved in senate, we always miss an official Davis meeting because we don’t have enough senators to make a full quorum.”
He went on to explain that one meeting per semester is enough to familiarize senators with the Davis campus and to relate with their constituency at that location.
“It’s overkill to have two senator events there — one per semester works,” Henry said.
Davis campus Sen. Jessica Cairo and Davis campus Vice President Hayley Tomney are opposed to the bill.
“It is taking representatives away from their constituents,” Tomney said. “We have close to four thousand students here at Davis from all different constituencies — everything from students with disabilities, veterans, non-traditional, traditional and all of the minorities here.”
Tomney emphasized that many WSU students who are not currently taking classes on Davis campus should come to take part in the student services available, such as the testing centers, the book store and the math hub, to name a few.
Erik Ashby, WSU faculty member and adviser to the student government weighed in on the bill.
“As a university, we are striving for a two campus, one university model,” Ashby said. “When they are putting bills on the floor like this, it seems very Ogden-centric minded and that concerns us.”
Hughes believes he has a solution that accommodates both sides and, in addition, keeps the two campus, one university model in mind. Hughes would like to add a clause to the bill that will require the student senate to be involved in two events at Davis campus.
“I wouldn’t be able to support this bill without that clause,” Hughes said. “It’s a solution that takes both views into consideration and increases representation at Davis.”
Hughes explained that events are a less formal way for senators to get to know and hear their constituents’ concerns and better represent their voice in committees.
Henry supported this clause. “This option gives us flexibility. We have to meet from 3 to 4:30. Our constituents aren’t on campus then,” Henry said. “This lets us be at Davis when the students are there.”
Tomney disagreed that the clause will increase interaction between students and their representation.
“The senate’s job is not to be helping with events and activities,” Tomney said. “Their job is to give students an opportunity to have their voice heard and addressed in public forum. By taking away an official senate meeting, they are taking that opportunity away from Davis students.”