New SGA Senate structure planned

By: Gerard Albert III/Staff Writer


The constitutional review committee at the University has passed a plan to change the structure of the Student Government Senate.

The committee passed a new university-wide Senate structure proposal during a meeting held on Friday, July 6, at the Engineering Center. The meeting was a sharp turn around to the meeting preceding it on Wednesday, June 27, which was plagued by miscommunication.

Heads were cradled in hands, frustrated faces tried to remain calm among the back and forth but ultimately the committee meeting on June 27 got little done. The meeting began with news from Dr. Anthony DeSantis that the new constitution would go to vote at the Senate and student level.

Javier Ortiz and Brandon Aquino, members of the Student Government council at the Modesto Maidique campus, presented a proposal for a bicameral legislature in which the number of representatives are based on student population per college and each college received one senator. The proposal received immediate criticism from members of the Student Government Council at the Biscayne Bay campus who argued that there was no guaranteed representation for BBC students.

The back and forth continued for almost an hour until it was decided that voting members would delay the next scheduled meeting to meet privately and return with a new Senate proposal that both SGC’s could agree upon.

“At this point we are just running in circles,” said Jose Toscano, director of Campus Life and a content expert for the committee.

The meeting on July 6 had committee members sitting around a conference table and braced for another two hours of back and forth. But, more than halfway through the meeting, several articles had been reviewed and the new Senate proposal passed.

“I almost wish we would have a disagreement!” said MMC president Jose Sirven, his statement met with laughter from voting members.

The committee steamrolled through the daunting task of creating a new senate structure that reflected the merging of the two SGCs. They did so in such stark contrast to the prior meeting that attendees felt there was room for jokes like this. The last rule on the committee poster board, “Have Fun!!!” was being practiced where it seemed absent during the previous meeting.

Javier Ortiz, finance chair SGC-MMC and voting member, spearheaded the new proposal. According to Ortiz, better representation for BBC helped them get on board with the new proposal.

The Senate will now be composed of one senator from each college or school that has a dean and one senator from each campus that hosts on-campus housing. The House of representatives will be made up of one representative from each department with 800 or more enrolled students, while departments with fewer than 800 enrolled students will be grouped together and receive one “at large” seat.

Seats based on summer 2018 enrollment numbers.

Following this system, the House of Representatives would be comprised of 23 representatives and the Senate would be comprised of 14 senators, based off enrollment during Summer 2018.

John Habib, SGC-BBC speaker of the Senate and a voting member, agreed that passing the new Senate structure was an accomplishment.

“It was good that we were able to come together on an idea,” Habib said.

                                                                           Seats based on summer 2018 enrollment numbers.

Members of the committee are hoping that this momentum carries to their next meeting, where they will attempt to restructure the executive branch, something both Ortiz and Habib said will prove to be a difficult task. Voting members agreed to delay the next scheduled committee meeting and meet privately instead to work out a presentable proposal during the next committee meeting scheduled for Monday, July 23, at the Wolfe University Center in the Biscayne Bay campus, Room 231 at 11 a.m.


Images of Senate seat plans courtesy of Javier Ortiz.

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