Temple Student Government’s Parliament held its inaugural meeting to discuss the branch’s expectations for its members and overall priorities Monday evening.
One of Parliament’s top goals is increasing accessibility for people with disabilities on Temple’s campus, said Drew Gardner, Parliament’s speaker. TSG is working with Aaron Spector, Temple’s director of disability resources and services, to create a task force ensuring every building on campus is made friendly in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Gardner said.
Gardner’s other goals for Parliament include increasing representative participation at student events and keeping a better record of Parliament activities.
“We weren’t being effective,” said Issa Kabeer, the vice-speaker of Parliament. “We should be able to pass resolutions all the time, we shouldn’t have to have this problem. And that problem was just drama.”
“We are an organization who was just a piece of hot trash last year in terms of interest,” Gardner said. “But we’ve made it already into something better.”
Parliament serves as TSG’s legislative branch and represents the entire student body, according to TSG’s Constitution. Launched in the fall of 2016, the branch has consistently struggled to fill open seats and pass resolutions.
The current TSG administration said they would request the legislative body to become inactive during their campaign but reneged after Parliament was able to fill most of its empty seats.
Parliament still has four seats open, Gardner said, which he will be working to fill. The seats include representatives for the College of Education, the School of Social Work, the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and the School of Theatre, Film and Media Arts, said Aurora Budson, TSG’s deputy director of Parliament communications.
Regardless, Gardner said he is pleased by the fact that so many seats are now occupied.
“As of now I actually feel very, very great about seats, considering how many seats we had to fill,” Gardner said. “And how many seats right now, I think we’re phenomenal.”
Adbia Bhuiyan, Parliament’s honors representative, said that as a sophomore, she wasn’t aware of how Parliament had operated previously, but that this year, it was well-organized.
Hosting events for students who might be interested in what TSG does will help to get students involved, she added.
“All the schools should be represented, all the different years should be represented, and we are learning from past mistakes and improving on those things, just having our word out more and maybe on social media and stuff like that,” Bhuiyan said.
Arshad Shaik, a Parliament at-large member who joined in the Spring, said his main goal is to make sure that students know that Parliament is there for them.
“There’s going to be issues that everyone can get behind,” he said. “If I can pick up on some of those ideas as me being a student, I’ll have some of those wishes and wants as well, hopefully. I can just chime in and make sure even if we don’t maybe make this big change, at least we get that voice heard.”