Student Senate could be doing more to accomplish their goals

Recently, members of MCTC’s Student Senate went to the Minnesota Student Leadership Summit 11. In a program book given to all attendees, various school’s accomplishments were listed. MCTC’s Student Senate boasted of Higher One, a ban of plastic bottled water sales and student textbook donation.

But, where is this financial aid service? Why are water bottles still sold on campus? What did the Student Senate do to make it so people could donate textbooks?

On Sept. 28, senate made a motion “to move forward with Higher One.” What does moving forward with mean? We have no idea what fees could possibly be associated with this service and we have had no updates on the negotiations going on for this service.

Clearly, plastic bottled water is still being sold on campus. A committee supporting the ban was made in order to come up with a strategy in how this would be executed. Nearly nine weeks into the semester, we still have had no word on what this committee has accomplished.

With an annual budget larger than any other student club at $17,180, has the Student Senate contributed that much value back to the students who paid for this with their student life fees? With students paying all of this money, are their wants and needs being fulfilled? In a poll by City College News this doesn’t seem to be the case. Out of the 58 people polled that even knew about Student Senate, only 16 percent felt that the senate represented their best interests.

When it comes down to deciding what’s best for the students, Student Senate’s constitution as of right now allows the need of only seven people in order to pass a motion that could effect nearly 15,000 students. With this current constitution in place, it gives non-senate participating members zero voice in what policies this school decides to enact upon. Out of 126 students, only 16 percent even knew how to contact any of their student senate representatives.

According to this constitution, 50 percent of senators and 25 percent of club members must be present for the senate to have voting quorum. Currently, there are 33 chartered clubs and nine senators. This means that there would only have to be eight club members and five senators present in order to obtain quorum. With a total of 13 people needed to vote, it only takes seven people in order to pass a motion through the senate. We feel that the amount of people needed in order to have quorum should be raised.

At a recent senate meeting, quorum was actually lost. During the revision of the new Helland Center’s policy manual, enough people walked out of the meeting for the senate to lose its power to vote. Maybe this is because students who are loaded with homework do not have the time to go through the bureaucratic process of editing this document. If a committee was formed to draft this document and then all the changes students wanted to make were done in one meeting, everyone would win and the senate could move on to take care of more important things than this. With students feeling that their time is being wasted, they are losing their motivation to participate in this senate.

The percentage of people who even know about Student Senate is too low. Out of 131 students polled only 43 percent even knew what Student Senate was. If these students don’t even know about the body that makes decisions for them, how is senate acting as their voice? The average student at MCTC probably doesn’t have the time to do extra curricular activities with work, homework, kids, job, etc. The methods used to get the word out about Student Senate are clearly not working.

This can be fixed in a number of ways. First off, the senate’s website needs to get back online. Their domain name expired Oct. 23, and their site is pending on deletion. With this site down people are not able to access current documents that the senate is working on and people who don’t know how to contact senators have no way of accessing that information.

Next, Student Senate should follow what the Minnesota State College Student Association does and elect a Public Relations Coordinator. This person’s sole job would be to increase student’s awareness of senate. The person could be in charge of creating fliers and running senate’s social media outlets. Potentially, increasing the accuracy of senate being the voice of students.

We feel that this senate has not accomplished enough, has too low of a quorum rating and needs to improve the number of students who even know about it. If you feel that the Student Senate could be doing more to improve this campus, email us at [email protected]