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Senators Protest Replacement of Senate Meeting with Presidential Forum

By Shawn Ness | March 27, 2024


Senate Chair Erin McGrath at the podium during a previous SA meeting.

Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP


Members of the Student Association’s Executive Committee are upset at the abrupt cancellation of tomorrow’s meeting and the decision to instead replace it with a presidential forum. 


The committee consists of Senate Chair and Vice Chair Erin McGrath and Sarah Jamil, respectively, as well as the committee chairs: Dylan Klein, Gina Smith, Trevor Pettit, Emma Rennard, Luther Kohout, Ethan Madappatt, and Sidney Wheeler.


The information was conveyed to the committee members at 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday via email, less than 18 hours until the usual start time of SA’s weekly Wednesday meetings, three minutes later, an email was sent from Jamil to the members of the committee informing them that the upcoming committee meeting was canceled because there was no regularly scheduled Senate meeting this week.  


Two members are now concerned because of a vote on the external budget on April 10. According to them, the legislation that was supposed to reach the floor during the meeting on March 27 and April 10 may now be rushed.


Klein, the chair of the Rules and Administration Committee voiced his concerns about the cancellation in an email which was sent by a few Senators to the ASP.


“This does a deep disservice to the greater public at large and should be reconsidered. Forum or not, WE HAVE WORK TO DO!,” the email reads.


Another member, who wished to remain anonymous, told the ASP that they agreed with Klein’s sentiments that the cancellation would lead to the four bills that were supposed to be considered during the meeting being rushed and would lead to the bills not receiving the proper attention.


“Pushing all the legislation back to the next meeting AND asking any additional pending legislation is now considered next week is not only severely limiting the amount of time people have to write bills, but it’s also definitely going to lead to us rushing through things next week,” the member said. “Which I’m afraid is going to lead to bills not being looked over or not given the proper consideration they deserve.” 


The member also added that no one on the committee was asked about their opinions on a potential cancellation, which is something Jamil addressed in her response to Klein’s original email.


I believe this matter was brought up weeks prior with little to no input received, so it is just a reminder to everyone to be actively expressive with these opinions in a timely manner. Ill-timed requests or notices cannot always be accommodated,” she wrote. 


Klein disagreed with Jamil’s thoughts, noting that in the meeting Jamil referred to he understood that there was not a consensus that the meeting would be canceled and that it instead would be pushed back to 9:00 p.m. 


He continued by criticizing leadership’s prowess in a semi-mocking manner. 


“Maybe if we had an Executive Committee group chat where matters such as this could be discussed, this extremely critical decision could have been made with the input of the whole Executive Committee,” Klein responded to Jamil.


Gina Smith, the chair of the Committee on First-Year Experience, told the ASP that she thinks the presidential forum was a good idea because it would allow for a wider spread of information about the upcoming spring general election. She also added that the concerns of other members are valuable and they should have been consulted before the cancellation, which was something Jamil also expressed to Klein.


“I know that there were some new legislation that will now need to be pushed back a week, but from my understanding, none of them were urgent or garnered extenuating circumstances so I trust the chair and vice chair’s judgment on it,” Smith said. 


Jamil said that she has full faith in the Senators to do their due diligence when reading over legislation, even if they are given it on short notice. 


“I can say that all legislation will have all necessary review and voting time in the coming meetings. It is not a concern I currently have,” she said.


The presidential forum will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.

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