Just as a bill to set up a graduate affairs department was to go under review, senators shot it down Wednesday at the student senate meeting.
Freshman Sen. Antonio Wong put his bill up for its first reading at the last meeting Nov. 14. The bill was intended to put the Department of Graduate Affairs into the Student Government Association documents.
A few weeks before, the senate confirmed Malik Littles as the secretary for the Department of Graduate Affairs, but Littles soon learned that the department did not exist.
Although the same bill was passed a year before by now-SGA President Ramon Alexander, the bill was lost. So Wong wrote another one to put the department in the books.
As Wong got up at Monday’s meeting to have his bill voted on, senior Sen. Tara Crawford, 21, a political science student from Nashville, Tenn., quickly motioned to strike the bill.
Several senators quickly seconded her motion. And later, the motion to strike the bill was passed 13-12.
“I want to applaud your efforts on writing your bill,” Crawford said to Wong, but “if you look at these duties, there’s someone else doing it.”
Crawford said her reason for not wanting the bill to be voted on was because other departments do what graduate affairs would do if it were implemented.
“Graduates get a lot of support within their majors,” Crawford said, acknowledging that graduate students will not be left out of campus business and activities.
Sen. Yvette Wilmoth, 21, a senior business administration student from Fort Lauderdale, voted to strike the bill, but she said graduate students can and will be heard.
“There are so many different avenues for them (graduate students) to take,” Wilmoth said. “I think it’s important for them to know they are not being left alone.”
Among the organizations and individuals Wilmoth said cater to graduate students are: the Graduate Student Association, the graduate feeder program, the graduate class president and vice president and the Campus Activity Board.
Wilmoth believes these organizations “can really touch those students who are here just for the graduate programs.”
But senior Sen. Adrian Jordan, 21, a finance student from Washington, was upset at the decision because the senate was not being consistent.
“The bill was passed last year, and then we’re saying ‘no we don’t want the bill,'” Jordan said.
Wilmoth countered Jordan’s remark by saying that each year’s senate has a different perspective, and many members of this year’s senate did not wish to pass it.
Graduate Sen. Jarryd Jackson, 23, was upset at the decision to not consider the bill and at how close the vote was, but he said he will not let this get him down.
“I will move to reconsider it next meeting,” said Jackson, a pharmacy student from Bradenton, Fla. “I didn’t agree with how the vote came out. The vote was so close-a 12-13 vote.”
Jackson said although other organizations can help graduate students, being directly involved with SGA is the best way for students to know what is going on around campus.
“I think it (the Department of Graduate Affairs) gives graduate students a direct voice with SGA,” Jackson said. “I think that’s the best way to get their voice heard.”
While he does not feel neglected by the university, Jackson believes that many other graduate students feel left out when it comes to university issues.
Jackson is also perturbed about the lack of graduate student representation in the senate. There are eight senator spots for each undergraduate class, but there are only three graduate positions.
“Graduate students don’t even have half the representation as one undergrad class,” Jackson said.
“Being in SGA helps me be more active, but I feel the people I represent are (feeling left out).”
Contact Brandon D. Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org