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SGA Assembly Passes Constitution Changes to Transition to a Student Senate Model

The Student Government Association Assembly, on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, approved constitutional amendments proposed jointly by 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 SGA leadership. With an affirming vote of over the two-thirds majority required, these amendments serve as a directive to adjust the legislative body of SGA from the current Assembly model to transition into a Senate model.

The previous Assembly model allowed all active student organizations in good-standing with the University to attend by sending a representative and deciding on proposed business. The attendance in Assembly fluctuated between 90 and 100 representatives weekly, and each student organization could also have an alternate for representation. This structure had led to low student participation and desire to attend.

Based on research of 21 peer institutions, like Creighton, Elon, and Georgetown, 19 of those 21 student government bodies existed in a Senate structure. This proposal also underwent nearly six months of extensive internal review and assessment. Lastly, the change to this system has been primarily driven out of concern for representing the Butler student body.

“Through my tenure in serving SGA, I have found that the Assembly structure was not fully representative of the students we serve,” said current SGA and Student Body President Chad Pingel. “Some students across campus were not represented at all, while some students, depending on their involvement, could be represented up to six times over.”

The new Senate model would allow every student to be represented at least three times, by class, academic college, and housing area. Senator allocations were assigned based on proportional representation in each area defined. As clarified in the new SGA Constitution, there will be 35 senators representing students in these areas (see graphic here: Student Senate Model). The senators, to be elected in Fall 2015, would be responsible for attending weekly meetings, serving as oversight for SGA leadership, approving the SGA budget, and gathering student concerns from their constituents. These roles would have a greater rate of representation, more intentionality in service, and stronger connection to the student body.

Further embedded in the recent changes to the SGA Constitution, the names related to SGA Boards and positions have been altered to provide for further transparency. Also, the SGA Service and Philanthropy Board, as passed through SGA Assembly in December, will be enacted in 2015-2016.

“We are very excited with the upcoming changes to the SGA Senate and think that it will serve students well into the future. Our goal is to make sure that all students have an outlet where their concerns can be heard and addressed,” said incoming SGA and Student Body President Katelyn Sussli. “The SGA Senate will achieve this while offering further opportunities for student involvement in our campus SGA.”


Media Contact:
Grant Meyers
SGA Director of Marketing and Communications

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