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TSG Parliament is elected, but turnout falls short

The representative body will officially begin its full legislative duties at the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester.

Temple Student Government announced 36 students elected to serve on Parliament, TSG’s representative body, last Monday.

The 37-seat entity has one vacant spot because no eligible students ran to represent the Boyer College of Music and Dance. According to TSG’s constitution, Parliament will hold open interviews for students who meet the set criteria and from the pool of candidates, select one to hold the position. Applicants for the position must be full-time students enrolled in Boyer and hold at least a 2.5 GPA.

TSG fell short of its expectations for voter turnout with almost 3 percent turnout. Earlier this month, TSG’s Elections Commissioner, Noah Goff, said TSG was hoping for 35 to 40 percent voter turnout. In the general elections last spring, 12.72 percent of students voted.

Parliament is the largest initiative put forth by this administration that will go into effect this academic year. In 2011, TSG attempted a similar, unsuccessful structure to represent students.

“I was thrilled with the number of people who ran for Parliament,” said Student Body President Aron Cowen.

He added that some seats would have higher turnout, because more students were eligible to vote for them, like the at-large seats, that any student could cast a vote for.

“We’re planning kind of a soft open.    The next few weeks will be us getting to know [Parliament] and them getting to know us,” Cowen said. “We want to walk through everything we’ve done and get their take on it.”

Parliament’s full legislative duties will begin in Spring 2017, when TSG expects Parliament will elect its speaker. The speaker will work with the TSG representatives that connect TSG to Parliament — Liaison to the Parliament, Rebecca Gonzalez and Parliamentarian Jemie Fofanah. Cowen said he also anticipates Parliament will organize its six committees and interview students to fill the seat for Boyer.

Students on Parliament are not restricted to term limits by design, Cowen said.

“The year-based seats will always get new blood,” he added. “But we wanted a combination of new blood and people who had been there before.”

Cowen said having new people take over an administration is a constant problem that many student governments have.

In the coming weeks, Parliament will also work with TSG to set up its bylaws. These laws will outline how Parliament works internally, like its debate style. Once the bylaws have been set, Parliament will be able to pass resolutions and “set the agenda” for the issues TSG’s Executive Branch is responsible for examining.

Julie Christie can be reached at julie.christie@temple.edu.

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