Parliament’s new leadership plans rest of spring semester

Eight Parliament members resigned since January, including three at-large representatives.

Haajrah Gilani (left), a sophomore journalism major and speaker of parliament, and Kiara Marable, a senior philosophy and political science major and vice speaker of parliament, sit on a bench near the Bell Tower on Feb. 15. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University Student Government’s Parliament sent a letter to the deans of all Temple schools and colleges on Friday asking for leniency for student class work and exams during the week of March 8, because students do not have a spring break, which was planned for March 1 to March 7.

This includes limiting homework, holding shorter classes, making assignments optional, rescheduling exams and offering extensions on assignments due that week, according to the letter.

Earlier in the semester, TSG had plans to advocate for more Wellness Days for the Spring 2021 semester in addition to the planned Wellness Days on Feb. 23 and March 24.

But with the change in Parliament’s leadership, TSG did not have time to advocate for more Wellness Days in Temple’s schedule, said Haajrah Gilani, a sophomore journalism major and the new speaker of Parliament. 

“With a week of lenient workload, students will be able to re-energize and return to their regularly scheduled routines with lower chance of burnout,” wrote Gilani, who is also the Klein College of Media and Communication representative, and Kiara Marable, a senior philosophy and political science major and the new vice speaker of Parliament, in the letter.  

Parliament is doing a wonderful job advocating for a decreased workload, wrote Sophia Tran, a junior psycology major and TSG’s chief internal services officer, in an email to The Temple News.

“Students are academically and socially exhausted, and extremely zoomed out,” Tran wrote. “We aren’t used to an online format, and two Wellness Days isn’t enough for our mental health.”

Members of Parliament elected Gilani and Marable as the new speaker and vice speaker, respectively, of Parliament on Jan. 18, The Temple News reported

Gilani and Marable did not run on the same ticket, but they planned their campaigns together, said Marable, who is also the College of Liberal Arts representative. 

“Parliament hasn’t had the most amazing public perception in the past, and I thought that I could maybe play a role in changing that,” Gilani said. 

Parliament will continue the previous leadership’s initiatives, including rewriting Parliament’s bylaws, and will create its own initiatives, including opening TSG meetings to the public and creating a freshman representative orientation for TSG, Marable said.

Parliament elected new leadership after Issa Kabeer, a second-year diversity and leadership graduate certificate student and the former speaker of Parliament, and Arshad Shaik, a junior neuroscience major and the former vice speaker of Parliament, resigned from their positions on Jan. 13 amid frustration about their handling of a representative’s resignation, The Temple News reported.

Karim Alazzam, the former Freshman Parliament Representative, resigned from his position on Jan. 10 after posting a video to his personal social media that members of TSG perceived as anti-Semitic, The Temple News reported

“[Kabeer] realized that he had a lot going on, and maybe Parliament could use a new set of eyes, as he said in his letter,” Gilani said. 

Shaik is still an at-large representative in Parliament, but Kabeer is no longer involved in it, according to TSG’s website

Changing leadership halfway through the school year is difficult because of the new leadership’s change in tone and approach, Gilani said. 

“We don’t have a lot of time to get the things that we want done, done,” Marable said. “So it’s kind of a matter of racing against the clock.”

Eight Parliament representatives resigned since January, including three at-large representatives, the freshman class representative, the sophomore class representative, the junior class representative, the College of Engineering representative and the College of Public Health representative, Gilani wrote in an email to The Temple News.

“That’s been something of an issue just because it’s so close to the semester ending, we don’t have enough Parliament members to really be hands-on with the projects we want to get done,” Marable said. 

With TSG elections coming up in March and only two months left in this term, Parliament will not fill all the vacant positions, only one or two, Gilani said. 

In March, Gilani and Marable will not run for a position in Parliament for next term.

“Parliament also has a lot more power than people realize, and there really is power to make actual change within Temple,” Gilani said.  

Haajrah Gilani is the Co-Intersection Editor at The Temple News. She played no role in the writing or editing of this story. 

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