With only two more meetings before the end of the semester, Speaker of the House Luke Harville turned attention toward reforming Student Government Association for a more successful spring semester.
Most of Tuesday’s House meeting involved an informal, open discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of SGA this semester.
“SGA, in this current formation, has reached its growing pains,” said Harville.
Controversies over Intercom membership, use of student funds, and transparency have brought wider student attention and criticism to the workings of SGA.
“This has been a semester of questioning,” said Harville. “Now it is time to reflect on what those questions were and to reflect on those conflicts.”
Multiple SGA representatives, including Cody Westphal, expressed concern about disconnect between the student body and student government.
“We have their money and we are spending their money and either they don’t care or we are failing miserably at our job of communication,” said Westphal, who was elected for Student Body Treasurer.
Those who spoke talked about more proactive representation of the student body.
“As leaders who represent their student bodies, you have to be a listener and a follower,” said Thomas Kober, College of Fine Arts representative.
“Minority students on campus feel very underrepresented,” said Graham McMillan, Vice President for External Affairs. “I think that’s a problem that needs to be addressed.”
Some representatives stressed the need for more legislation in the upcoming semester.
“The caliber of legislation we’ve seen this semester, as far as being contentious or having two sides to the issue, hasn’t been what I’ve seen in previous semesters,” said Spencer Heath, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences representative.
Harville said that the discussion is critical to getting a better idea of what student government should look like at a rapidly changing university.
“Throughout the semester, a lot of people’s complaints were that there wasn’t time for organic discussion,” said Harville. “We have a unique opportunity to set the tone of not only what this next semester of SGA is going to be like for this semester, but what SGA could be like in the future.”