The second Temple Student Government Senate meeting of the semester demonstrated TSG’s commitment to setting new precedents, especially with its new meeting room style and format.
Walking into Room 200C of the Student Center, students saw the new arrangement of the senate desks and audience seats, with the table occupied by the president, senate president and chief justice in the center against the back wall facing the audience and two rows of senate tables on the left and right side positioned diagonally.
They’re more open for getting the audience involved and trying to keep the blood flowing throughout the debate,” Senate President Colin Saltry said of the new set-up.
“It’s a shift in how we want to operate. It’s not perfect, but damn it, I think we’re doing the right thing,” he added.
TSG President Kylie Patterson kicked off the meeting by leading the room in reciting the new Temple student pledge. After that, Chief Justice Keith Davis, senior political science and anthropology major, swore in five new senators, including Marlon Bryan from the College of Liberal Arts, Colin Beneski from the College of Engineering, Charnett Moffett from the Fox School of Business, Eve Eisemann from the School of Science and Technology and Sherene Padinjarekutt from the Tyler School of Art.
After questioning from the senate and Patterson, Megan Chialastri, a junior political science major, was appointed as sergeant of arms, a position that ensures that order and rules are followed during meetings. Mark Quien, a Fox School of Business senator, was confirmed as senate president pro tempore.
After each necessary student officer was confirmed for his or her position, the senate moved to legislation, first up being Senate bill S10-3, “A Resolution Encouraging the Pa. General Assembly to Act to Reduce Access to Illegal Guns.” A majority of the senate members favored the bill, citing violence, personal situations and the recent shootings near campus as reason for their fellow senators to vote yes.
“We need to stand as students to protect our fellow students and the surrounding community,” said Natalie Ramos-Castillo, a senator for the College of Education.
Patterson reminded the room that the issue would be one of many addressed at a caucus of student governments, including other schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and St. Joseph’s University. The bill passed with a significant senate majority.
Other bills that passed included S10-4, “A Resolution Recognizing Temple University’s Adjunct Faculty,” S10-5 which recognized National Engineers Week and a resolution that recognized Peter Reynolds, an adjunct professor in the theater department who has made a significant contribution to the Temple community, including his work in promoting LGBTQ presence. Senator Malcolm Kenyatta from the School of Communications and Theater cited Reynolds’ work with the Mockingbird Theater and his Spring 2010 class “Queer Theatre.”
Quien debated the bill, worrying that it was unfair to all the other hard-working faculty members to praise one professor and not the others.
“There are people on campus who do great things all the time,” he said, adding that it would be like giving a “gold star” to one of many deserving professors.
“I love gold stars,” Kenyatta said. “We should say [to professors], ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job,’ because it encourages a higher level of teaching.”
Ramos-Castillo agreed that it encourages professors to continue working hard and that recognition was needed. Kyle Goldstein, senator from the College of Engineering, agreed. However – as a result of Goldstein’s safe-zone training, a program that teaches participants how to be allies to the LGBTQ community – he asked to strike a line in the bill that contained the word “gay,” rather than the all-inclusive LGBTQ acronym.
The bill was eventually passed.
“I’m happy we’re setting new precedents,” Patterson said of the new format of the senate meetings. “Talking about our stance on guns, celebrating our [professor’s] accomplishments, these are all steps in a good direction.”
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.