Samuel Larreal | Staff Writer
Three student senators received writs of removal earlier this month due to frequent unexcused absences, highlighting a participation issue with elected student representatives.
Senate leadership sent warning letters to eight senators with four or more absences on Oct. 24.
Some of the schools with the lowest attendance rates during this semester are the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Managements, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, FIU College of Law, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work.
Vice-chair of the Committee on Rules and Administration resigned after a personal emergency, Senate President Kaily LaChapelle said but kept a good attendance record.
The Hospitality and Tourism Management Senator, who was one of the three Senators against whom a writ of removal was filed, resigned after the writ was filed against him, SGA Alexander Sutton said.
The Public Health and Social Work Senator resigned after she informed Senate leadership that she was no longer a student at FIU after receiving the warning email.
Four other senators have “re-committed” to their responsibilities and will be subject to an informal probation period for the rest of the year.
During this probation period, senators will be under a higher level of scrutiny and subjected to termination writs if not able to meet their responsibilities, LaChapelle said.
Lack of participation has been a hallmark of this Student Government legislative period.
Unexcused absences by some senators have been constant during the semester and committees have frequently mentioned difficulties in meeting quorum in their reports.
“The problem of attendance is not just one that affects the Senate but all branches,” LaChapelle said, “I do also hope to see an increase of holding leaders accountable, especially within the SGA Executive Board.” After more than one year of absence, a recently confirmed judicial branch has completed its training and now can take legal action against Student Government officials.