Students Voice Concerns During Senate Final Town Hall Meeting

March 31, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Anna Kiappes
akiappes@smu.edu

Students, faculty and staff attended the last SMU Student Senate town hall meeting of the semester to address issues important to them.

Representation of student athletes was one of those issues and was discussed throughout the meeting, which was held Wednesday afternoon, March 31.

SMU sophomore and equestrian team member Morgan Toal said there is no representation for student athletes in Senate. Toal said she believes that a senator for athletes would serve as a liaison between student athletes and the rest of the student body.

“Athletes spend their time at the gym, practice, and class,” Toal said. “There is a big disconnect.”

Toal and other athletes polled student athletes and 41 out of 63 respondents expressed interest in running for Student Senate.

Austin Prentice, current Student Body vice president and candidate for Student Body president, has started the process to get a student athlete liaison. If the Student Athlete Advisory Committee is re-chartered they will automatically have a Student Senate liaison.

“The Senate liaison project is where every chartered organization has a liaison so they are connected to the Senate and they have a contact to ask what is going on,” Prentice said.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Senate seat was also discussed. Current Dedman Senator Harvey Luna said the senator would address issues like gender free housing and restrooms. He also said the senator would also create a new image for SMU.

“The senator may not solve all the issues, but it would get the student body talking,” Luna said.

Representation was not the only issue discussed during the meeting.

Transfer student Jan Anderson asked about increasing the DART’s Mustang Express shuttle to include weekends. Joe Esau, Senate’s parliamentarian and candidate for Student Body vice president, said he already talked to the Sustainability Committee about expanding the hours of operation for Mustang Express but found funding to be an impediment. It would cost about $60,000 per year to make the change.

Many of the officials Esau talked to all have the same question.

“The key thing I’ve gotten back is where is the money coming from?” Esau said.

Esau encouraged students to talk with their senators and ensure their voices are heard. He then said that is how the Dedman Recreational Center came about.