By Allyssa Schoonover
Student Senate is seeking to fill six more vacant seats this semester.
Arlington junior Dominic Edwards, student body internal vice president, said it is imperative these positions be filled so that the Student Senate can function in the way that its constitution requires.
“Basically there are 52 student senators, 13 per class,” Edwards said. “If someone resigns or studies abroad, or maybe just can’t come back to Baylor for some reason, then they resign their seat. So then from there, we have to fill their seat via the class officers.”
The class officers have five weeks to fill the vacant seats, and if they are not filled during that time frame then the responsibility is shifted to the student body president. Although the vacancies do not hinder the Senate’s ability to function or vote during meetings, this does slow down productivity.
“Each year, especially around spring semester, there become vacant seats,” Edwards said. “It doesn’t impair our job, but with the system that we have in place, they always get filled.”
The remaining vacancies are one seat in the senior class, three in the junior class and two in the sophomore class.
The process of filling these seats starts with students submitting applications to the internal vice president. He then distributes those applications to the respective class officers, who review the applications and interview the candidates. The class officers select one person per vacant seat, and a committee of student senators then confirms his or her acceptance. Finally, it is passed with a majority vote of the Student Senate.
“It’s really about a balance of powers of the legislative and executive branch, that way we aren’t just choosing our friends,” Edwards said.
Katy sophomore Lawren Kinghorn, the public relations chair, and other officers recruit Senate candidates and spread the word around campus. Kinghorn said they rarely have trouble filling the vacancies, however it is usually a little slower for upperclassmen.
Hickory Flat, Ga., senior Haley Davis, the senior class president, said they look for enthusiastic candidates with bright new ideas, not just someone who is looking to boost their resume.
“Once you’re an upperclassman, people have found their niche and don’t want to jump into something new, and that’s when people just apply to be able to put it on their resume,” Davis said.
She also said although filling the senior senator seats has been a problem in the past, the class of 2014 is an exception.
“We almost have too many good applicants. It has never been an issue since I was a freshman until now,” Davis said.
These vacancies are a regular occurrence each spring, but they are not necessarily bad.
“It’s kind of just like a legislative body, in the sense that it feels like we always have new and fresh ideas because people are continuously coming in,” Edwards said.
The Student Senate’s responsibility is to advocate for the student body to Baylor’s administration.
Students can access the application online at www.baylor.edu/student_government.