April 5, 1999

New student committee proposed

by Josh Renaud
staff assistant

Hoping to build on the enthusiasm of the recently-elected student senators, senator Ryan Metcalf is spearheading an effort to create a student committee in the University senate.

At the new student senator orientation meeting Mar. 16, Metcalf proposed the new organization to his peers. He explained that such a committee would strengthen the student voice in the senate by keeping student senators in touch with senate issues.

"[The purpose of the committee] will be to keep all the student senators in touch with what's going on in all the senate subcommittees, so that when we meet in the full senate, we know where the student voice is coming from and what to say," Metcalf said.

Before the proposed committee can be officially recognized, the student senators must elect a committee chair, find a sponsor, and write a constitution. Metcalf said he hoped to do all those things at a meeting later this month.

"At the [orientation] meeting, I collected all the senators' e-mail addresses, and over spring break we set up an e-mail listserv," Metcalf said. "Hopefully we will meet sometime this month, and by then everyone will know what committee they are on, and we can get to work."

Jeanne Zarucchi, chair of the University senate, hosted the orientation meeting and said she endorsed the proposal.

"I am very much in favor of this," she said, "because I think it will help students get organized and share information about what is happening in specific committees."

"I think the faculty will be very happy about this, because everyone has been concerned by a lack of student participation by student senators in the past," Zarucchi said.

Metcalf said that the proposed senate student committee would serve a very different purpose than the Student Government Association, and that it should not be considered a rival or a replacement.

"I view SGA as the campus organization where all recognized student organizations go and participate and guide policy," Metcalf said. "SGA puts on events, and it finances things. This senate student committee is just going to be the 25 senators. It will be open for anybody to show up, but we're not putting on events or anything like that."

Metcalf also expressed his wish that UM-St. Louis students, faculty, and administrators would attend senate student committee meetings and give the student senators feedback.

Zarucchi said she would do whatever she could to help the student senators become an integral part of the senate next year.

"If the student senators can maintain the enthusiasm they expressed and demonstrated with a high turnout at [the orientation] meeting, then I think things look very good for the future," said Zarucchi.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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