TSG Senate President Jeff Dempsey is leading dedicated senators on a quest to represent and assist Temple students.
The Senate was formed last year at TSG’s first Constitutional Convention in March. Its purpose is to directly represent students and act as a liaison between students and administration.
“I think that this Senate is a perfect representation of Temple students. All of them want to be a part of it. It is such a huge gamut of people and they are all fantastic,” Dempsey said.
The Senate is comprised of students from their respective schools. Senators were chosen by selection committees from their college administrations, TSG executive branch, and different recruitments for students. The amount of senators for each college is based on the student population for each school.
Dempsey, a junior political science major, was chosen as the Senate president at the final General Assembly meeting last year. He was involved with the TSG Constitutional Convention and also ran for TSG president. Although not victorious in his campaign, he chose to remain a part of TSG. Juan Galeano, last year’s TSG president, appointed him Senate President.
“I recognized that the system was changing and wanted to be responsible for taking it to the next level,” Dempsey said.
Many of the senators have already been talking to students and have ideas for bills they would like to see passed.
“I have a vision of the culture that I would like to instill. I would really like to help bring a sense of empowerment and a sense of community to my school,” said Dusha Holmes, a senior senator from the School of Communications and Theater.
Holmes ran for student body president last year. Although he did not win, he wanted to keep his promise to the student body that he would stay involved with student government. Along with helping to bring a sense of community to his school, he wants TSG to become an agent for students looking for places to live off campus.
Most senators said they felt housing was a major issue at Temple. Kylie Patterson, a junior College of Liberal Arts senator, would like to see the off-campus housing office re-opened. This goes along with her ideas for helping students learn about the resources that are available for them, whether it is housing, advising or career services.
“Knowledge is empowering. People want to be in the know. I’m willing to be that connector between students, faculty, and administration,” Patterson said.
As Senate president, Dempsey is responsible for leading all the Senate meetings and acting as a mediator. He said he took part in writing the Senate Rules and By-laws. He and the executive board held a retreat for the senators this summer to help them get to know each other and verse them in political terms.
“The main part of the retreat was really establishing a community vibe and having people get to know each other,” said Laura Hink, a sophomore senator for University Studies.
Senators are responsible for representing the students from their schools. They are instructed to find out what their students want and how it can be achieved. Dempsey is responsible for making sure his senators comply with these guidelines.
“We are all learning this together. I equate it to a classroom and infants. Everyone is new. Everyone is on the same page,” Dempsey said. “Hopefully while we’re learning, we’re making it better.”
Last year, TSG eliminated its weekly General Assembly meetings and replaced them with bi-weekly Senate meetings. The Senate meets every first and third Monday of the month.
The meetings are open for students to attend. Students can come and make suggestions for what they want to see accomplished within their school or for the university.
Students may make bills as well, but they need a senator to sponsor and present them. The bills can be proposals for a housing committee, ideas to create more school spirit, or simple recognitions of valuable instructors.
The senators said the purpose of the Senate is to be that connector for students and to become a place where people can express their ideas and concerns.
“Temple is a very big school. Not just in size or population, but also in ideas. The students want to express their ideas,” said Kevin Gerard, a junior CLA senator.“We have that outlet now in the Senate, but I want it to go farther.”
Rebecca Hale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.