Temple Student Government still has more than 15 platform topics to fulfill in Spring 2019.
Since its inauguration in April 2018, IgniteTU said it has spent much of its time internally re-organizing. Few new campus initiatives were created or executed in Fall 2018.
Parliament, the body’s legislative branch, saw the most change in operations last semester.
In early Fall 2018, TSG removed the role of parliamentarian, and Parliament elected a speaker and vice speaker, who lead Parliament meetings. The executive branch also started sharing its funds with Parliament.
Despite changes to improve the effectiveness of Parliament, seven vacant seats remain in the body with three interviews underway. It passed six resolutions at the end of Fall 2018, and five of them are to further reform the body.
IgniteTU’s focus was to improve Parliament’s effectiveness, Student Body President Gadi Zimmerman said, and he looks forward to seeing these changes in action.
“It’s something we’ve been working on since we were inaugurated, and it’s something we’re still working on,” Zimmerman said. “Parliament has done a good job of getting themselves set up so they can be more successful in the spring semester.”
According to IgniteTU’s platform, the administration has implemented all of its goals for Parliament except for allowing the body to write its own bylaws. However, the administration has yet to initiate plans for some of its platform topics, including improving funding for Tuttleman Counseling Services and expanding transfer student resources.
In November 2018, Parliament Counselor Nancy Allen mandated that Parliament, which had not proposed any resolutions, propose 15 in three weeks. In response, the body proposed nine in the time remaining before winter break.
Junior class representative Alex Rosenberg introduced and passed one resolution, which called for the creation of a dog park on campus to increase interaction between residents and students near Main Campus.
Additionally, Parliament passed five other resolutions. Two — the Open-Government Act and TSG Watchdog Act — are designed to improve the body’s effectiveness and expand its powers.
During the Fall 2018 semester, the re-designed Parliament was also involved in multiple debates with the Ethics Board.
TSG restructured its Ethics Board last semester to include more members who have less direct interest in a specific TSG body. The new structure has, so far, mediated at least four challenges to TSG’s constitution:
Oct. 18, 2018: Parliament members asked if the counselor could run a Parliament meeting prior to Speaker elections. It was ruled that the counselor can run meetings.
Nov. 5, 2018: Allen mandated Parliament to propose 15 resolutions in three weeks.
Nov. 8, 2018: The executive counselor created deadlines for the Executive Branch to fill the Student Liaison to the Board of Trustees position in IgniteTU’s platform.
Dec. 4, 2018: Freshman representative Madison Okkerse challenged the 15-resolution mandate and said it was impossible to fulfill. Okkerse said Parliament should be able to interpret bylaws as they wish. It was ruled constitutional to create the mandate.
The executive branch — headed by Zimmerman, Vice President of Services Trent Reardon and Vice President of External Affairs Cameron Kaczor — reformed its own processes last semester.
The executive team replaced the previously mandatory, in-person General Assembly meetings with weekly email newsletters and optional town hall meetings. Organizations originally had to attend GAs to earn funding for their programs, get to know TSG administrators and advertise their events.
Some organization leaders, like Christina Concilio, the vice president for Broadway On Broad, a cabaret organization that receives TSG allocations, prefer the email newsletters to the in-person meetings.
“I felt last year a lot of the information they gave could have been put in an email,” she said.
Concilio was Broadway on Broad’s TSG representative last year and said she’d like an opportunity to advertise her organization’s events in the emails. She said TSG should consider having a few in-person GA meetings each semester.
She added that she normally skims the email to fill out the quiz at the end that is meant to ensure organizations read and understood the email’s contents.
“Maybe if we had an in-person GA every two months or so that would be a good thing,” she said. “We would know more information and have to pay attention.”
Zimmerman said he is looking to follow through with more platform points on campus in Spring 2019.
“I feel really good about what we’ve been able to do so far,” Zimmerman said. “But there’s still a lot of work that we can
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated that TSG had not completed any initiatives meant to help students facing food or housing insecurity. TSG hosted a food donation drive and is sponsoring a scholarship that will subsidize food and housing costs for one or more students.