Temple University Parliament discusses their second semester resolutions

Student government’s Parliament has one resolution during their 2021-22 legislative term.

Rohan Khadka, a political science major and multicultural Parliament representative, talks with other members of Parliament in their office, located in the Student Center Room 244, on Feb. 18. | AMBER RITSON / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Parliament, the legislative branch of Temple Student Government, has passed only one resolution this academic year — to encourage the university to implement a tuition freeze — and is working on four other resolutions. If passed, the resolutions will create a more conscientious and eco-friendly campus. 

In August, Townley Sorge, Parliament’s speaker and College of Public Health representative, outlined her goal to pass 10 to 12 resolutions by the end of the school year. 

Parliament started their term in April 2021 with low participation, but added 20 members in their September 2021 election. During the Fall 2021 semester, Parliament only had nine to 10 active representatives out of the 25, making it difficult to achieve her goal, Sorge said. Parliament needs at least 16 to 17 votes for a resolution to be considered for passage.

“I would rather have quality over quantity,” said Sorge, a senior public health major. “I would be content with even six resolutions because I know we have resolutions that are in the works and waiting to be voted on again.”

Rosalee Banks, the junior class representative for Parliament and a criminal justice major, is hopeful that participation is rising after more students applied to run in the upcoming spring election. Only five students ran for Parliament in last year’s spring election.  

Parliament has introduced a series of goals to accomplish their revised target number of resolutions, including amending their bylaws to allow for more participation within Parliament and working with student organizations, like the Muslim Students Association, to come up with resolution ideas. 

“To be able to pass the goal of 10 to 12 resolutions is to modify the bylaws of TSG within Parliament to make it as efficient as possible,” said Rohan Khadka, a freshman political science major and multicultural Parliament representative.

A possible bylaw amendment includes allowing members to vote remotely to allow for better participation.

In April 2021, Parliament successfully passed a resolution calling for a tuition freeze for the 2021-22 academic year. However, Temple University increased the base tuition rate for all students this year by 2.5 percent.

Parliament has made a few attempts to pass another resolution addressing how the university responds to disruptive protesters who position themselves in high-traffic areas on campus. However, the proposal has failed to pass because one member continues to object when unanimous agreement is needed.

A drafted resolution that aims to make Main Campus bee-friendly through the elimination of pesticides, which can make it harder for bees to pollinate, will be presented to Parliament,  Sorge said. 

Two other resolutions are currently in the research phase, Sorge added. One aims to reduce food waste by urging campus restaurants to use the Too Good To Go app, which allows businesses to sell surplus food that would otherwise be thrown out.

The other resolution will push the university to reduce its plastic waste, specifically plastic straws, by calling on restaurants to offer lids and only giving straws when requested, she added.

In October, Parliament worked on a resolution to ensure activation buttons on automatic doors function properly for people with disabilities. The buttons remain a goal for Parliament, but the resolution has not passed because members who worked on this legislation have currently shifted focus to the other resolutions that are farther along, Sorge said.

Despite these challenges, Parliament is still engaging with the student body to hear their concerns and evaluate which resolutions they find most important.

On Feb. 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., TSG is hosting the Good Morning Commuters event which encourages commuter students to voice their concerns so TSG can evaluate them accordingly.

“We have a responsibility to the students that we serve,” Sorge said. “Student outreach and student input on resolutions is really important.” 

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