The Student Government Association (SGA) referendum to eliminate House seats for the John V. Roach Honors College will be voted on by the student body tomorrow.
The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in February, but the student body vote was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill was co-sponsored by Student Body Treasurer Paige Shiring and Representatives Austin Shively and Zane Champie.
Shiring said they examined the composition of House seats and noticed the Honors College was being overrepresented in comparison to other constituencies.
“Having a truly equitable and representative body means representing people from all over campus and not triple representing a select number of students who are already really motivated; otherwise, they wouldn’t be in the Honors College,” she said.
Under the current rule, students in the Honors College can choose to run as a representative for the Honors College, their academic college or their graduation class.
All other students can only run as a representative for their academic college or graduation class.
“Students within the honors college receive triple representation from their class, academic and honors representatives, whereas non-honors students only receive double representation,” according to February’s legislation.
The Honors College is also the only co-curricular program that receives seating in the House.
If SGA were to keep the program’s seats, Champie said they would have to start letting in other groups at TCU that aren’t under academic units.
“It makes a lot more sense to take the one outlier out and have everyone be represented exactly the same than have one organization or one group of students that are getting represented two times,” Champie said.
All three of the bill’s co-sponsors talked about removing this “third route into student government” as a way to make the House of Representatives more accessible for all students.
“Making that accessibility uniform for every single student on this campus, that seemed like the most fair way to have a representative body.”Paige Shiring, co-sponsor of the bill
Shiring added that all three sponsors are in the Honors College and could not think of a single issue for which the program specifically needed a representative.
While the consensus of the students the sponsors spoke to seemed to be in favor of the change, confusion abounded about what exactly the referendum is.
“The problem I was running into was that it required a good amount of explanation because no one really cares, no one really understands seat apportionment,” Shiring said.
The easiest way Shively found to explain the referendum was to say that “you can’t major in honors,” so the program should not be apportioned seats in the House.
The bill passed 33-15 in the House last spring, and Shively is hopeful the student body will agree.
“I really think it’s going to come down to how many people we can have a conversation with or talk to or just get the information in front of them,” he said.
All undergraduate students will receive a link to the official ballot in their TCU email Friday morning, and voting will be open from 9 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.