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Senators discuss their roles

Melissa Flanagan | Thursday, March 3, 2011

Student Senate discussed how to make the role of senator more effective within residence halls at its Wednesday meeting.

A handful of senators said they have trouble relaying information to their dorm because they either do not have access to their dorms’ listservs or do not hold Hall Council meetings.

Cavanaugh senator Tegan Chapman suggested other residence halls use Cavanaugh’s method of hall clerks sending daily e-mails.

“Our hall clerks have an e-mail address that they have access to,” she said. “They send out a daily e-mail to everyone in the dorm.”

Chapman said she is able to send a message for hall clerks to include in these daily e-mails.

McGlinn senator Yiting Zheng said although McGlinn meets for Hall Council, it is difficult for her to communicate what she learned in Senate because Hall Council takes place on Tuesdays and Senate meets on Wednesdays.

“If there’s an event that Friday, there’s no way for me to let anyone know unless I stop every person I see and tell them,” she said.

Student body president Catherine Soler said if senators are having any of these issues with communication, they should make an attempt to work through it with their hall presidents.

“Say we need to be able to have a voice,” Soler said. “Other dorms have these tools, how can we make it work?”

John Sanders, Carroll Hall senator, said it might be helpful to give dorm reports at some Senate meetings in addition to the committee reports already given each week.

“Not every meeting, maybe just once a semester,” he said. “We can discuss the pertinent issues in our dorms at the time and hopefully address any problems.”

Knott Senator Alex Kasparie said he doesn’t believe the senators are currently fulfilling their intended roles.

“I think our primary role right now is working on student government from outside the dorm,” he said. “The senator is really removed from the dorm right now.”

The senators should not solely be student government members, Kasparie said. They should be student government liaisons to their individual dorms.

Gender Issues Committee Chair Tim Castellini said the role of senators should be more clearly defined as someone who dorm members can approach with their questions.

“I feel like there should be an emphasis put on them, almost on par with their RA,” he said.

Campus Technology Chair Casey Cockerham agreed.

“Senators should be more involved in the dorms,” he said. “They should be fielding requests and questions from students.”