It’s time to do away with Parliament

Parliament, Temple Student Government’s representative branch, has existed for nearly two and a half years. But the branch has little to show for it. 

Parliament has not brought a single resolution to vote this semester, and is now mandated to propose at least 15 resolutions by Dec. 18. That’s five resolutions for each of its remaining meetings, a requirement that will certainly lead to arbitrary proposals with no implementation or substantial change in sight.

The branch was created to “pass resolutions that express the opinions of the General Assembly on behalf of the student body.” This mission to involve more students in TSG was a valiant effort — but it’s one that has fallen flat on its face.

Since its inception in Spring 2017, the branch has only passed 15 total resolutions, most of which have not come to fruition. Each semester since, it has passed fewer and fewer resolutions. 

It’s time for TSG to dissolve Parliament. It was never structured to be an effective body with valuable power. Although several student leaders have tried to fix the issues that plague the branch, those solutions have not been successful. 

Parliament first proudly voted to expand Tuttleman Counseling Services in January 2017, when the university already planned on moving services to a bigger space and hiring more full-time counselors. Walk-in hours, which could not support the number of students seeking counseling, have remained the same since Spring 2017.

During Fall 2017, Parliament only passed two total resolutions, distracted by its constant impeachment proceedings. 

Parliament consolidated the speaker position and created committees to guide meetings and streamline proposals into action by the Executive Branch. It secured part of TSG’s budget this semester. Both of these actions were initiated to ideally give Parliament separate authority and improve the body’s disfunction.

Yet Parliament has decreased its accomplishments semester by semester, reaching Fall 2018, when its only public resolution prospect is to create an on-campus dog park, which has not even been considered due to more miscommunication between body members.

Meeting times are spent by these student leaders to attempt to fix internal issues rather than to create change that the student body wants to see.

It’s clear that an incomplete, ineffective Parliament is evidence of an apathetic student body. However, Parliament remains one of general students’ only ways to participate in TSG.

The body holds some of TSG’s only meetings open to the public, other than its monthly town hall meetings. But those don’t give students and community members a chance to see TSG’s functionality. Only Parliament does that.

Parliament spent the majority of this semester struggling to fill its seats and teaching new members how the body operates, tasks which should have been completed in the spring. Despite this, Parliament has reached Fall Break with seven seats still vacant. The recent criticism from the body’s Ethics Board and Executive Branch is well-deserved.

While Parliament as it currently stands needs serious overhaul, it is meant to provide insight and accountability to the Executive Branch. Without resolutions, TSG lacks a clear idea of what its goals should be. This renders the entire body ineffective.

TSG must rethink Parliament’s structure, and turn it into a branch that does something. As it stands, it’s a waste of time and money.  

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Parliament only passed one resolution in Sprint 2018. It has been corrected to say that Parliament only passed two resolutions during Fall 2017. This article was also clarified to better describe Parliament’s budget and TSG’s public meetings.

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