Madison Fantozzi/News Director
After two debates about office hours, the Student Government Council’s Modesto Maidique Campus Senate passed a bill in its March 3 meeting to require all senators to hold three hours a week starting fall 2014.
The bill was proposed on Feb. 24, but was sent back to the authors after senators questioned the specificity of an “office hour” and argued how many hours the senators would have to hold.
In Monday’s meeting, senators were still confused.
“I asked for a bill on my desk with more structure and this is what I got,” said Senate Speaker Nicholas Aquart.
The bill had been redrafted, lowering the requirement from five hours to three and clarifying that committee and senate meetings would not constitute office hours.
Senators raised its first question: would meetings with administrators count?
Finance Committee Chair Nicole Buchely defined an office hour as time spent catering to students.
“If you’re doing your job as a senator, you are catering to students — whether it’s meeting with students, meeting with administrators or working on legislation,” she said.
“If you’re doing your job as a senator, you are catering to students — whether it’s meeting with students, meeting with administrators or working on legislation,” said Buchely.
Another concern was the fluidity of the schedule. As it remains, office hours can be any day, any time on campus.
Senators proposed holding office hours at 3 a.m. in the Green Library.
“If you’re holding office hours at 3 a.m., how are you making yourself accessible to students?” said Mary Corbin, lower division senator of student advocacy.
Corbin suggested structuring the bill for more reasonable times.
Aquart reiterated his message from the prior Senate meeting: “It’s not just about meeting with students, it’s about getting SGA work done.”
“I don’t really see any structural problems. We’re talking three office hours,” Aquart said. “Let’s not be ridiculous. We don’t need structure; we can be reasonable.”
Tereza Vokata, a graduate senator, said they shouldn’t debate over the structure and details because most of them won’t be part of the Senate next year.
“It’s not about that. It’s about the students,” Corbin said.
In the end, the bill passed 12-9.
Office hours will be posted to the SGA website.
The Senate also unanimously passed a bill updating the responsibilities of the Rules, Legislative and Judiciary Committee Chair to be responsible for informing all incoming senators of the appropriate legislative format by the second official senate meeting of their term.
The Senate also appropriated $1,500 to the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences for four students to attend the 29th Annual Career Fair and Training Conference, and $1,500 the Future Business Leaders of America for 29 students’ bus transportation to the 2014 State Leadership Conference.
According to Buchely, the Finance Committee has $500 left for appropriation this semester.