Given a relatively unproductive start to the year, Ithaca College’s Student Governance Council used its Oct. 31 meeting to workshop bill ideas. The SGC has only passed one bill this semester: the Change SGA to SGC bill.
By comparison, the SGC passed nine bills in the Fall 2015 semester and an estimated eight bills in the Fall 2014 semester, according to the SGC’s website.
The purpose of the workshop was for senators to flesh out bill ideas, with the executive board on hand to assist in shaping the bills. The SGC senators worked on six bill ideas. Topics included supporting contingent faculty, subsidizing CPR training on campus and creating a database between the Department of Theatre Arts and the Roy H. Park School of Communications where opportunities to work on productions could be posted.
Since 14 out of 24 senators are new to the SGC this semester, Senate Chair Carlie McClinsey said the SGC has spent more time orienting them. McClinsey said she has met one-on-one with senators and that they have many good ideas, but they have been hesitant to execute them. She said the senators feel they still do not know one another and do not feel comfortable reaching out to other members. The bill workshop, she said, would help unite senators’ bill ideas.
“I think the senators this semester, in particular, haven’t really known exactly what to do,” McClinsey said. “The purpose of tonight is to kind of lay out what bills people can be working on so we can have them meet right then and there so they can have a conversation.”
SGC President Marieme Foote said it is normal for the beginning of the year to start off slow because new senators need to be trained and ideas sparked. She said she predicts the coming weeks to be busy following the workshop as senators begin to propose official bills.
“I’m actually really excited to see the bills that come up, so I’m expecting the next couple of weeks to be jam-packed, hopefully,” Foote said.
The SGC focused on having administrators come speak to the Senate during the first six meetings of the semester. Dave Weil, interim associate vice president of Digital Instruction and Information Services and chief information officer; Tim Carey, associate vice president for the Office of Facilities; Title IX Coordinator Tiffani Ziemann; and President Tom Rochon were among the speakers.
McClinsey said having administrators come in to speak increases senators’ knowledge of administrative processes on campus and that she thinks the senators now have the base knowledge needed to produce substantive bills.
The SGC’s goals for the rest of the semester include continuing to work with the Shared Governance Task Force, as well as working with the external review of the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management and the college’s Middle States accreditation process, Foote said. The SGC is also trying to jump-start small, internal committees that would connect senators with similar ideas to create bills, she said.
Off-Campus Senator Charlotte Robertson, who has been a member of the SGC since the fall semester of 2015, said that even though it seems less work has been done this fall semester in comparison to previous ones, the SGC is doing a good job reaching out to various offices at the college.
“I don’t want things to become stagnant right now, but I don’t think SGC is not moving forward with things right now,” Robertson said. “I think it’s just in a less visible way than it was in the past two years.”