A new Students’ Association consolidation task force has been formed to recommend changes to the current bylaws to better serve student groups, help student groups communicate and work together and see if similar student groups can be merged. Each student group is currently under a general category, known as its umbrella group, which categorizes its members by purpose, such as the academic groups or the performance groups. The task force will consist of senators, All-Campus Judicial Council justices, members of Cabinet, members of the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee and representatives from each umbrella group.

This task force is a good idea as it shows the Senate recognizes that current bylaws can be written to better facilitate the goals of student groups. However, the umbrella group representative system is inefficient and ineffective for its purpose.

Each representative is expected to provide insight about the general problems and issues facing his or her umbrella group. Such expectations are unrealistic. For instance, a representative of the media and publications group could be from WRUR. However, the issues facing WRUR are far different from those of the Messenger or those of the Journal of Undergraduate Research. The representative cannot possibly be able to present the perspectives of every group under the umbrella category, or even have a general sense of the issues facing groups he or she is not a member of.

Furthermore, these representatives will be given voting power in deciding the recommendations sent from the taskforce to the SA policy committee. These recommendations would carry much weight and most likely would be implemented. Informally selected representatives should not be given power to effect the change of SA bylaws. We elect senators for the purpose of governing our student body.

The task force should not include representatives of the various umbrella groups. Instead, the consolidation task force should call each group to send its members who represent the group’s interest on specified days in order to fully and accurately address the concerns of each group. This process would allow the elected senators to hear all the issues and then perform their elected duty to make the government serve the students and student groups better.

It is noble that the SA wishes to reconsider its bylaws, prevent redundant groups from forming and hear the problems of student groups, but it must be sure that its information gathering is efficient and its bylaw changes are targeted effectively.

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