A measure to restructure the Monroe Park Campus Student Government Association Senate would allow for proportionate representation of each of the schools at VCU.
President Vikhyath Veeramachaneni proposed the Representative Senate Bill to the Senate Leadership Committee on Sept. 9. Restructuring would help solve a problem of unequal representation in the senate, Veeramachaneni said.
Under the measure, the number of representatives a school has in the Senate would be determined by the number of students enrolled in that school.
“We became aware of the gap in representation between schools and the SGA and we decided to work on a new system,” Veeramachaneni said. “With the support of many people from our advisers to executive cabinet members we were able to tackle this system and address many questions that came up about the implementation of this new structure of our Senate.”
If the measure is approved by the Senate and the Senate Leadership Committee, Veeramachaneni said candidates of the upcoming Senate elections will represent a specific school they are enrolled in, such as the School of Mass Communications or the School of Engineering.
New and veteran senators in the Monroe Park SGA said they are in favor of the proposal. Senator Idalmy Escobar, a recently sworn-in freshman engineering major, is one of them.
“I ask around and I don’t see any other engineering majors or anybody enrolled in the School of Engineering … I think I might be the only one right now who could represent or promote their (School of Engineering) interests,” Escobar said.
There are 32 senators and 11 chairmen in the Monroe Park SGA. The majority of the members are enrolled in the Wilder School for Government and Public Affairs.
Senator Phoebe Anim-Yankah, a sophomore majoring in international business, has served in the Senate for two semesters. She also said she is in favor of the proposal.
“I think that this will give the Senate more purpose and organization,” Anim-Yankah said. “Before, we had to represent the entire student body. If this bill passes, we can focus on our official constituents and serve them better and much more efficiently.”
Reuban Rodriguez, dean of student affairs and advisor to the SGA, said the MCV Campus SGA is making use of a similar system to the one Veeramachaneni has proposed.
“As far as I know, the MCV SGA have been doing alright with a similar kind of system … however, I am still waiting to see whether this new system will have a positive or negative effect to the Monroe Park Campus,” Rodriguez said. “In the end, it’s all about the students they will be the ones who decide whether this change is beneficial, detrimental or has no effect at all.”
The measure was originally scheduled to be presented to the Monroe Park SGA Senate on Sept. 9. However, it was not approved by the Senate Leadership Committee on that same day and could not be presented to the Senate.
Jamesa Parker, chairperson of the Student Life Committee and member of the Senate Leadership Committee, said the measure did not pass the committee because of technical issues.
“We did not pass President Veeramachaneni’s bill because we wanted it to be clearer and more definite and understandable,” Parker said. “Once the president has re-drafted the bill to be more clear and definite we will review the bill again.”
Veeramachaneni said he plans to have the Representative Senate Bill reviewed again on Sept. 16. If the bill passes the Senate Leadership Committee, it will be presented to the Senate on that same day. Once the bill is presented to the Senate, it will be voted on during the next session.
Veeramachaneni said he hopes to put the measure to a Senate vote on Sept. 23.