Student Senate talks representation

GVL / Laine Girard
President Ricardo L. Benavidez expressing his thanks to guest speakers for their presentation on Sexual Assalt.

Laine Girard

GVL / Laine Girard President Ricardo L. Benavidez expressing his thanks to guest speakers for their presentation on Sexual Assalt.

Claire Fodell

At its Thursday meeting, Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate discussed adding student
seats to university Governance Committees—University Academic Senate subcommittees that consist
mainly of faculty—as well as a resolution that would require student senators to attend all meetings
and exercise voting rights as part of those committees.

At the last Executive Committee of the Senate meeting, faculty members expressed their concern with
allowing students to have more seats on Governance Committees because in the past, students
haven’t seemed fully committed to their positions.

To be sure students take their positions seriously, the Student Senate discussed possible changes to
the Student Senate Resources Policies and Procedures. The changes would require the senators to
attend all meetings of their Governance Committee, take thorough notes and be active in their voting.

There was much debate over this between senators because many believed that there was no need for
the addition of these rules and that all members are responsible enough to take their positions
seriously, but others disagreed.

“Although I would like to trust the senators, that has not been the case in the past,” said Stephanie
Ewart, executive vice president of the senate. “This is just a safeguard so that what has happened in
the past is no longer the case.”

When it came time to vote, the senators were divided, but the majority wanted to extend discussion of
the resolution to the next meeting when they will either vote or extend the discussion even further.

“Since it is something necessary and vital, it is more important that we act critically,” said Andrew
Plague, vice president for political affairs.

Even though the resolution wasn’t passed, students were still appointed to positions on Governance

Last spring, the Student Senate presented a resolution to add more seats to the committees for the
use of graduate students from the Graduate Student Association. If graduate students didn’t fill all the
extra seats, undergraduate students would take their place.

However, there was much confusion with that resolution as to why students from GSA would get
preference for the extra seats in the first place.

A new resolution states that a graduate student appointed by the GSA, then approved by Student
Senate, will be given a seat. In the event of the GSA not finding a candidate, Student Senate would
appoint a graduate student of its choosing. This way, there would be one undergraduate student and
one graduate student on each of the university’s Governance Committees.

This resolution was not to be voted on, but a discussion had to be held in order for the university
committees to postpone their decision on the resolution from last year.

Although the two resolutions in the meeting were not passed, many of the student senators were
optimistic about how engaged members were in the discussions.

“A lot of times people just mindlessly pass things, but you’re all being more critical of resolutions
right now, and that’s great,” said Danielle Meirow, vice president for Senate Resources. “Your critical
thinking today really impressed me, so thank you.”

Jerry Alkema, Allendale Township supervisor, was at the meeting to notify the senate and students of
new building projects in Allendale. One of the projects that could really affect students is the expected
construction of apartment buildings on Pierce Street across from the Copper Beech Apartments and

“I like to think we have a great partnership with Grand Valley,” Alkema said. He added that if students
have any ideas or concerns that they wish to talk about, they should feel free to contact the
supervisor’s office.

To contact the Allendale Township office, call 616-895-6295 or visit

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