SG considers proposal to create additional senate seats for student groups

Boston University Student Government tabled a proposal Monday to outline requirements for granting a senate seat to a student group.

The proposal would have required that a student group be recognized by BU and have membership of at least one percent of the student body, or 160 members, in order to have a seat in the senate.

The proposal was postponed due to concerns about representation of groups that did not meet the criteria. The senate established a committee to evaluate the proposal further, which will be chaired by College of Arts and Sciences sophomore and CAS Class President Tyler Fields.

While presenting the proposal with Fields, BU SG Executive Vice President Richa Kaul said establishing criteria to allocate seats to student groups would allow for more effective representation.

“We know that a lot of people don’t really self-identify with the college that they attend or the place that they live in,” Kaul said. “This gives people an opportunity to be represented in a way that they want to be represented.”

Interfraternity Council Senator Jason Balsamo said he had concerns that the criteria proposed would unfairly favor larger organizations.

“The changes that are being discussed are changes that would allow organizations disproportionate influence while not recognizing small organizations,” Balsamo, a senior in CAS and the College of Communication, said.

Kaul said though she expected the proposal to be tabled, she was pleased that the discussion process is underway.

“I welcome the opportunity to work on it and make it better,” Kaul said. “It’s an interesting debate, something that Tyler and I need to look into more. But I see it as an issue that can be solved. Overrepresentation is something that I’m scared of less than underrepresentation.”

The senate also approved a proposal by Director of Environmental Affairs Danielle Elefritz to fund a program promoting the use of reusable bags at the Sleeper Hall City Convenience store.

The one-month trial program, set to run in April, will include a five- to 10-cent tax on plastic bags to discourage their use, according to the proposal.

If the program reduces the use of plastic bags by ten percent, the department would consider expanding its efforts to other City Convenience locations, said Elefritz, a junior in CAS and COM.

The senate’s funding will allow for the production of 750 reusable bags that the Department of Environmental Affairs will distribute at the Sleeper Hall City Convenience store.

The Department of Environmental Affairs is encouraging the revenues from these taxes to be used toward further sustainability efforts at City Convenience locations, Elefritz said.

“The tax is intended to raise awareness,” said Elefritz. “You don’t need a bag to carry out a bag of chips, for example.”

The senate also voted to officially endorse the efforts of SG’s Advocacy Department to have BU recognize Veterans Day as a school holiday.

Caitlin Steele, director of the Advocacy Department, said whereas most other universities suspend classes on Veterans Day, BU provides a day off for faculty members only.

“It’s a national holiday, but it’s also just a very symbolic time. We have a huge ROTC community here at the school,” Steele, a School of Management senior, said. “We’re happy that they [the senate] felt the BU community would like us to move forward with this and start negotiations.”

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