SA might need smaller senate

By Penny Rynberk

The possible impeachment of three Student Association senators for senate meeting absences could indicate the need for a smaller senate, SA officials are saying.

“Three impeachments is an average number,” said SA Public Relations Adviser Rebecca Bahr. The impeachment process is a way to have those senators that didn’t want to be on the senate removed, she said.

“Sometimes students get on the senate because they were write-in candidates,” Bahr said. “They aren’t always sincerely interested in being on the senate.”

The lack of senate election competition could be why senators don’t take their positions seriously, Bahr said. “If the senate was cut in half, we would get senators that are really interested.”

SA Treasurer Joe Kolerich agrees that decreasing the size of the senate would “improve the quality.”

“The elections would be more intense,” Kolerich said. “This would keep the senate quality up.”

“I don’t know if by having less senators we’re going to increase the quality of the senate,” said SA Recycling Adviser Rachel Vellenga. “But, we can get good representation in the senate without the large number.”

Greg Leathers, SA campus welfare adviser, disagrees. He said he feels a larger senate is beneficial to improving senate quality.

In the short run, a reduced number of senators will provide a more effective senate. However, in the long run, a larger senate could prove to be more experienced, Leathers said.

“The senators will gain the necessary experience now and therefore become effective senate leaders later,” Leathers said. “I think we should stick with a larger representation.”

The SA staff seems to feel that a reduced number of senators will not change the senate’s effectiveness of voicing students’ opinions at meetings.

“Right now, I don’t think the senators necessarily know what their constituents think,” Vellenga said. “It’s just students making decisions for students as opposed to senators representing their districts.”

Bahr said senators need to be more informed about opinions in their districts as well as the issues addressed at senate meetings.

“The senators need to be educated about what issues they are talking about … if we had fewer senators, they could be educated more quickly and thoroughly,” Bahr said.

SA President Preston Came said reducing the number of senators has been discussed in the past and it is an issue that is “being looked into.”