Temple University Student Government is dissolving Parliament, its 20-year-old legislative branch, after being largely ineffective throughout the 2021-22 academic year. Before today, the branch had passed a single resolution since the year began.
Before officially dissolving the branch on Sunday, Parliament passed four final resolutions, including recessing Parliament. The other resolutions include advocating for textbook affordability, offering resources for counterprotesting and declaring support for Temple Panhellenic’s demands for fraternities to combat sexual assault.
TSG wrote a new constitution to revamp its elections committee, dissolve Parliament and establish a year-long Legislative Advisory Committee, which will evaluate if a new legislative body can be established for the 2023-24 academic year.
The committee will audit the previous Parliament to determine areas for improvement, and its members will include the seven students elected to Parliament in March, the chief external services officer and the director of government affairs. Judges from the Constitutionality Council, TSG’s judicial branch, will oversee the committee’s work.
The new constitution will only last a year, and the next executive team will need to enact a more permanent TSG constitution, said outgoing Student Body President Bradley Smutek, a senior history major.
Only two members of Parliament voted against the resolution to dissolve itself.
Speaker of Parliament and College of Public Health representative Townley Sorge, a senior public health major, said there were discussions to send Parliament to recess for the past year. Sorge would like to see more accountability measures for Parliament participation.
“I think it’s a great decision,” Sorge said. “I’m a co-sponsor on the resolution, and I feel pretty strongly about this resolution or this measure being needed.”
Newly-inaugurated Student Body President Gianni Quattrocchi believes that TSG is making progress on evaluating Parliament.
“I think that with this change, by establishing an advisory board to reassess parliament,” Quattrocchi said. “I think it’s a necessary step in ensuring that students have both a well functioning and active student legislative branch.”
Smutek first considered dissolving Parliament in May 2020 before beginning his executive campaign in March 2021. He believes Parliament has never lived up to its expectations and should not be reinstated for the 2023-24 academic year.
“They just aren’t doing the work that a functioning legislative student branch would do,” Smutek said.
Smutek believes the Legislative Advisory Committee should research creating a new legislative body. The committee should also consider restructuring TSG to have an executive board, instead of three branches, which would be charged with electing the president or overseeing students’ election of a president, he said.
Smutek and Sorge are hopeful of where this change will take TSG in the future.
“The goal of any org leader should be to leave their org in a better place than when they found it,” Smutek said. “I am hopeful for the future of TSG that they will find a better structure moving forward.”