Boston University student coalition BU Students Against Silence held a sit-in outside of the George Sherman Union Tuesday in protest of the BU Student Government’s decision Monday to delay restructuring Senate and the SG Constitution.
Several students presented the “A Chance for Change” proposal to “dissolve” Senate during the SG Senate meeting Monday. At the end of the meeting, senators voted to table the proposal for two weeks, The Daily Free Press reported.
Noor Toraif, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of BU SAS, said SG has failed to take students’ opinions into account in their decisions.
“It’s very clear that the 177 voices that voted yes to [the dissolution] of Senate and the constitution being rewritten by a task force were ignored,” Toraif said during the sit-in. “This is what led us to protest in the first place, that student voices weren’t being heard.”
Toraif said SG has left the group with no choice but to protest for change.
“If SG refuses to listen to us, we have exhausted all of the means of talking to them within the constitutional procedures, within going to Senate and there’s just no cooperation,” Toraif said. “This is why we’re here today. We’re going to sit in and demand that our voices are heard.”
The “all-day” protest that demands “senators to stop misusing their unchecked power,” according to the Facebook event page, attracted minimum attention from the student body as only five BU SAS members were present at the sit-in.
BU SAS was formed after senators voted to remove two members of SG’s Executive Board following the impeachment trial. The removal of two SG E-Board members prompted BU SAS to label SG as unrepresentative and illegitimate, according to a statement in the group’s petition against SG.
Marlo Kalb, also a senior in CAS and a BU SAS member, said the group was “outraged” by injustice during impeachment.
“We thought that the [impeachment] trial was mishandled,” Kalb said. “There were many things in the trial that were going against the [SG] Constitution.”
Kalb said the impeachment’s repercussions reflect challenges student organizations come across on campus.
“We’re such a large campus and it’s hard to gather together to protest,” Kalb said. “There are people who really actively want us to not protest and make us more divided. We have a lot of very enthusiastic people, very dedicated people like the people in Students Against Silence who want to protest, but it’s very hard to get the word out there.”
Nicholas Ganey, a junior in CAS and another BU SAS member, said SG should be “completely dissolved” to make way for an open platform for students to form and change policies.
“I would like to see a direct democracy system,” he said. “I would like students to be able to put together petitions to have referendums voted on by the student body as a whole.”
The group was not formed for a specific purpose, but to further students’ voices, Ganey said.
“We only exist to make sure that student voices are heard.” Ganey said. “We don’t want our voices to be heard over the next student. That’s not at all our goal. We’re not trying to say that we want to rewrite the Constitution. We want all of the students to have an opportunity to put together a government that fairly represents them.”
Sonia Rao contributed to the reporting of this article.