In their first session of the spring semester, the GUSA senate reflected on their fall semester and discussed areas for possible reform moving forward.
Speaker Eliza Lafferty (COL ’21) and Vice Speaker Patrick Walsh (SFS ’21) led a discussion on internal feedback collected from senators about what could be improved. Major issues included the transition time after elections, weekly meetings, committees, leadership, and GUSA in general.
One concern regarding transitions was that the beginning of the semester was overwhelming for new senators. There were also concerns raised that elections in the Senate to committees were often popularity contests. Similar worries were expressed about the university-wide Senate elections.
Concerns about the senate’s weekly meetings centered around effective use of time, with suggestions to limit extraneous debate when necessary to allow careful consideration of debatable amendments. Senators also felt that meetings could be tense, making them unproductive.
Senators serve on committees to work on specific items, and asked that these committees improve coordination with the GUSA executive and structure their meetings around more concrete work.
The majority of the senators’ critiques centered around GUSA as a whole. Senators expressed their desire for more transparency about what stage different initiatives were in to better provide information to the general student body. They also hoped GUSA could work to place policy over politics.
Lafferty hopes that GUSA could work to coordinate with other student activists doing work similar to the GUSA Executive and Senate committees and incorporate that work into their policy. Senators also said in the anonymous feedback they felt that the current GUSA leadership under President Juan Martinez (SFS ’20) and Vice President Kenna Chick (SFS ’20) has functioned better than previous executives in the last three years.
In other GUSA news, the Financial Appropriations Committee applications for club funding will open next week, and will be due in early February. Every spring the committee is in charge of appropriating funds to club advisory boards, which then give funds to each club.
The Senate also approved their calendar for the spring, and will next meet Monday, Jan. 21, at 5 p.m. in Healy 106.