Students voted March 8 to pass bylaw changes that will restructure the Associated Student of Linfield College Senate.
Of the 617 students who voted (38.9 percent of the student body), 59.8 percent voted in favor of the changes; 12.6 percent, against them. Abstentions totaled 27.5 percent.
The bylaw changes cut Senate from 60 possible members down to 27: 11 club senators, eight at-large spots (two per class), five for students living in residence halls and suburbs, one for the Interfraternity Council, one for the Panhellenic Council and one for the Communications Board (TLR, KSLC 90.3 FM, CAMAS and Wildcat Productions).
“Honestly, you’re just getting rid of dead weight,” ASLC President senior Colin Jones said about reducing the Senate’s size.
Activities Council will choose the club and at-large senators at the beginning of Fall Semester, and as vacancies arise, by an application process. The other organizations will choose senators among themselves.
“I think, hopefully, with the new Senate structure, the opinion will be from the constituency rather than the senators themselves,” Vice President junior Katie Patterson said. “I would have loved to work with this Senate that [Bradley Keliinoi] is about to have.”
Vice President-elect junior Bradley Keliinoi said he’s excited to work with the new Senate in the fall.
Senate approved the changes to send to students at its March 7 meeting in a 39-2 vote with one abstention (42 of the 60 possible senators were at the meeting), but senators voted against proposed Cabinet restructuring 20-21 with one abstention. Jones presented changes to Senate and Cabinet at a Feb. 21 Senate meeting; at the next meeting (Feb. 28), senators sent the proposals the Senate Governance Committee to revise.
Committee Chair freshman Dana Hellie said the committee, along with various Cabinet members and senators who attended the meetings, met three times to work out the kinks of the original proposals. She said the group made many compromises before reaching a consensus on the versions they presented to Senate on March 7.
“I was kind of bummed that people weren’t understanding of that [consensus], but that’s probably because they weren’t at the [committee] discussions, so they didn’t understand why we agreed on those changes,” Hellie said.
Jones’ initial proposal cut secretary, combined the positions of Club and Student Center directors and created a Vice President of Community and Sustainability Affairs. The committee’s proposal also dropped the secretary position and added a Service and Sustainability Director, but it kept Club Director and Operations Director (Student Center Director) separate.
“In truth, I think it got voted down because folks were concerned about process more than content of the proposal. That was the sense I got in the room,” Fergueson said, referring to some senators’ sentiments that the proposal was rushed.
Hellie said the proposal may have been rushed, but the Senate spent the same amount of time on the Senate proposal. Keliinoi agreed, but said that students felt less hurried with the Senate document because, being senators, they have a more thorough grasp of changes that need to be made in Senate than on Cabinet.
The feeling of haste was one of two main oppositions to the Cabinet proposal.
The second opposition concerned the addition of a Service and Sustainability Director. The Football Club senator said at the March 7 meeting that Senate should make sure sustainability isn’t just a passing trend before adding a sustainability position to Cabinet.
“When people say things like that, it makes me concerned that they are not receiving a good education at Linfield,” Jones said about the “fad” concern. “I was pretty disappointed by the nature of the discussion because I felt that the arguments being put forth lacked the substance I would have liked to see from senators.”
Hellie said having a sustainability position in Cabinet represents student interest and need.
“Linfield is kind of sustainability-based,” she said. “If Cabinet wasn’t reflecting what the students wanted, then we’re not doing our job.”
Patterson said she was disappointed the proposal didn’t pass, especially the part about moving the board of trustees seat from the vice president’s duties to the president’s.
But both Patterson and Keliinoi said the Cabinet restructuring proposal won’t disappear.
“It’s a continuing dialogue that we will be having with our ASLC government, and proposals will be made and voted on in the near future, perhaps even to the Senate proposal as well,” Keliinoi said.
Kelley Hungergord can be reached at email@example.com.