In a presentation to the student senate last Tuesday night, President Sara Shore ‘17 addressed the issue of “senator engagement” in the DCGA. The problem was put into four parts: 1. [The] meetings are not fulfilling [their] purpose (to create policy, distribute student activity fees, approve new organizations), 2. [They] hear from the same [senators] each week, 3. The community does not feel the need to attend senate meetings, and 4. Senators generally do not seem eager to engage.
With a harsh critique and call to action such as this, it appears that Shore is very serious about enacting noticeable change before her tenure is over. Shore’s grievances are not unique, however, with many students harbouring a similar, if not more muted, opinion. “I sometimes felt like I got more done by just voicing my concerns to administration, independent of the DCGA,” said alumnus Max Kelly ‘16, who served on the DCGA as a senator before graduating last year. “I also felt as if there was some hypocrisy with the student body in that there were so many complaints about the DCGA but essentially no one showed up to voice those concerns during the meetings.” This sentiment was likewise noted in the presentation.
Shore does not provide judgment without a solution, however. In her proposal, she suggests two alternative paths forward to increase senate efficacy. The first option imagines an alternating schedule every week; as Shore writes, “reports and topic selection” one week followed by “think tank and project work” in the next. This arrangement would help to break up the monotony of the weekly meetings and promote action through soft deadlines.
The second option explores an overhauled example of the former approach. Each weekly meeting would consist of both reports and project work, and instead would be lengthened to two hours instead of the usual one hour allotted for senate meetings. This second option appears to be the most demanding of the two proposed. A final opportunity for a third option will be open for discussion in the upcoming senate meeting, if there are any.
In either case, it remains apparent that Shore is trying not to let the senate go unchecked for much longer.