The Student Senate is a branch of student government that acts as the voice of the students. Student Senate currently has 34 senators representing 16,305 Eastern students, meaning each senator represents 480 students.
A senator’s first responsibility is to be educated on the topics before them. The Progress believes the student senators have done really well. We’ve never argued that the senators don’t know as much as they possibly can about the proposed $150 student fee.
A senator’s second responsibility is taking their knowledge and educating their constituents. With the upcoming Student Senate vote looming only two days away, The Progress is uncomfortable with the shear lack of effort the Student Senate had made as a whole for each member to reach out to 480 students.
Now, let us ease the blow of the above statement by saying we are aware of a few very strong efforts made by Senators Rachel Keys, John Perrin, Damir Siahkoohi and Josh Dunn. These four senators’ efforts have reached The Progress staffers not as editors, but rather as students of their constituency. We have seen Facebook posts, surveys and emails on their behalf, reaching out to their constituency and these efforts are genuinely impressive and it shows us that some of the senators are doing their job.
However, the majority of Student Senate is not giving their greatest efforts and that’s a shame. If students seek out a senator position, it should be their passion, to provide a voice for the students they represent but it seems that a lot of the senators are participating only in Student Senate meetings and think their job stops there.
And before you say it, talking just to friends and people in your residence halls is not enough. Posting a few posts or tweets is not enough.
There should have been, and still can be a much greater, and more cohesive approach to reaching the whole student body. If the senators worked together, there could be a unified survey published on one platform publicized on every senator’s Facebook and Twitter to start with and the survey displayed every day on EKU Students Today or in an email sent out by SGA leadership to all students.
Senators could staff a booth on Powell Corner and the Business and Tech Center a few days each week to educate students and actually engage students in conversation. With 34 senators, you could set up a booth multiple days a week for the entire day. That would certainly be a start.
We’ve also seen informational flyers that each senator has received on the proposed bill. This would have been excellent to post in all the residence halls, mailed to off campus and regional students or emailed to every student. These are some simple steps that just didn’t happen.
The last responsibility of the senators is to be available to hear out students’ questions and concerns. Tuesday night’s forum was the only united effort by the student government and university administration to listen to the students. Unfortunately the turnout was less than satisfactory. There needs to be more. A majority of the campus has no idea even who one senator is; let alone how to contact them.
After an editor went to the SGA list to obtain a list of senators and how to reach them, The Progress contacted Perrin to obtain the list made available in this editorial.
These are the senators that students elected last fall and in last year’s spring elections to represent all 16,305 students. If you are in favor or against this fee, as a student you have the responsibility to contact your student representatives and voice your opinion.