Student Senate

Senate is the Legislative body of the Student Government Association, which was initiated at Mary Baldwin in 1969. The main goal of the legislative branch is to make and amend laws and constitutions. A constitutions is “a written document that establishes the rules and principles” for groups and organizations on campus.

The purpose of Senate is to allow the students to have a voice, to discuss student issues and topics which include: passing legislation like club constitutions, talking about campus issues like campus lighting and addressing general campus concerns brought to our attention by voting and non-voting members of Senate including the gallery.

Gateway Representatives and Hall Presidents act as direct representatives of their respective residence hall, house, apartment, or commuter student body. Their duty is to express the ideas, concerns, and suggestions of their peers and to vote in accordance with such ideas, concerns, and suggestions.

In order to represent such ideas, concerns and suggestions, Gateway Representatives and Hall Presidents need to report information and discussions from Senate back to their peers in order to find a collective agreement about ideas, concerns, and suggestions that can be presented and followed through with during the next Senate session.

Senate business can only be conducted when there is a quorum of one half plus one of the voting members (Gateway Representatives/Hall Presidents). Non-Senate members may also propose legislation, though it is the decision of the President whether or not the issue will be discussed in Senate at that time, move it to an agenda on a future Senate, or move it to the appropriate Co-Chair. Senate may also vote to not discuss the proposition or move it to committee.

A majority rule or vote is needed for proposals to pass through Senate.  Once passed, a proposal is then taken to the Executive Committee of the Student Government Association for approval. The Executive Committee has two options; approve the proposal, which will then become a bill, or veto the proposal and send it back to Senate. The Senate may override the veto of the Executive Committee by a three-quarters vote. The proposal would then be a bill and it becomes a policy of Mary Baldwin University.

In essence, Senate is the main vehicle for change on campus by providing direct communication between the student body and the administration of Mary Baldwin University.

It is the voice of the students.

Parliamentary Procedure

Amendment: a change that allows members to make modifications to a motion (i.e. by adding things to the motion or striking things from a motion)

  • You can amended the amendment, which only changes that portion of the amendment
  • You can not amend the amendment to the amendment

Three questions to ask related to amendments

  • Is the amendment amendable?
  • Is the amendment debatable?
  • What type of vote need to take place?

Lay on the Table: option to move onto the next order of business because the Senate has more urgent or pertinent business to deal with immediately

  • Not amendable
  • Can not be discussed
  • Needs a second and majority vote

Motion: a formal proposal made by a voting member (i.e. Senator or Hall President) that the Senate can take certain action on (can be referred to a Co-Chair committee)

  • All motions are stated with “I move…”
  • All motions require a second (formal support by another voting member) stated with “I second that motion…”

Point of Parliamentary Inquiry: used to clarify parliamentary procedures (i.e. when you think parliamentary procedures are not being used properly or when you get lost)

Postponement: putting a motion on hold until another meeting and states when it will be brought up again and needs a majority vote

Rising Count Vote: used for a 2/3 vote where voting is done by a show of hands

Voice Vote: used for majority voting where all those in favor say “aye” and all those opposed say “nay”

Senate Constitution

ARTICLE VII. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH: SENATE (of the SGA Constitution)

SECTION 1. MEMBERSHIP

A. Senate membership is determined using a ratio of one representative for every 18 on-campus residents. The commuter student Senate membership is determined by using a ratio of one representative for every 50 commuter students. Senators and Hall Presidents are elected as follows:

PEG Center – 2 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies
Hill Top — 1 senator, 1 hall president, 2 proxies;
Kable — 2 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies;
King — 2 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies;
McClung — 2 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies
Memorial — 2 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies;
Spencer Ground — 1 senator, 1 hall president 1 proxy
Spencer I — 1 senator, 1 hall presidents, 2 proxies;
Spencer II — 2 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies
Spencer III — 2 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies:
Tullidge — 3 senators, 1 hall president, 2 proxies
Woodrow Terrace Apartments and Houses — 2 senators, 1hall president, 1 proxy;
Woodson II — 1 senator, 1 hall presidents, 2 proxies
Woodson III — 1 senator, 1 hall president, 2 proxies;
Woodson IV — 1 senator, 1 hall president, 2 proxies.

B. Proxies will be determined based on the number of Senators and Hall Presidents in each residence hall or house . If there are two or more senators on a hall then there will be two proxies. If there is only one Senator then there will be one proxy.

SECTION 2. OFFICERS

A. President
The presiding officer of the Senate is the vice president of the Student Government Association. She shall have the power to appoint chairwomen of such committees as are necessary to carry out the business of the Senate, subject to the approval of the Senate.

B. Secretary
The secretary of the Student Government Association shall be the secretary of the Senate. She shall record the minutes of the Senate meetings, distribute them to the members of the Senate, all administrative offices, faculty members of the Senate, and post copies for the student body.

C. Parliamentarian
The parliamentarian of Senate shall be a senior, junior or sophomore, having had at least one semester experience as a participating member of Senate prior to being appointed by the Senate President, shall have the duty of ensuring that meetings are conducted in accordance with parliamentary procedure.

D. Treasurer
The treasurer of Senate shall be a senior, junior or sophomore, having had at leases one semester experience as a participating member of Senate prior to being appointed by the Senate President. She shall be vested with the duties of recording and supervising all transactions of funds for Senate and assisting the Student Government Association treasurer with the 75 percent appropriations process.

SECTION 3. DUTIES

A. To legislate for the Student Government Association.
B. To represent student opinion.
C. To keep the student body informed, specifically, each senator with her respective unit.
D. To discuss and make known to the faculty and administration student opinion concerning general college policy.
E. To evaluate and act upon proposals submitted to and under the jurisdiction of the Senate.
F. To establish committees which are necessary to carry out the business of the Senate.

SECTION 4. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

A. Each senator shall have one vote.
B. Fifty percent plus one of the membership shall constitute a quorum.
C. Legislation may be proposed by any qualified member of the Senate or by petitions bearing the signature of ten percent of the members of the Student Government Association.
D. A proposal which passes the Senate by a majority vote shall be presented to the Executive Committee for action.
E. The proposal shall be approved or vetoed by the Executive Committee, and returned to the Senate by the next regular session.
F. If approved by a majority of the Executive Committee, the proposal is passed. If vetoed by a majority of the membership of the Executive Committee, a three-fourths vote of the membership of the Senate shall be necessary to override the Executive Committee’s veto.
G. There will be a review board, consisting of the president of the college, the dean of the college; the dean of students, the five faculty and/or staff/administration members of the Senate, the president of the Student Government Association, and the president of the Senate. In any case which the president of the college considers exceptional, she may call the board to review and, if deemed advisable, to veto actions of the Senate.

SECTION 5. SESSIONS

The sessions of the Senate shall be weekly except in cases of scheduled academic recesses with the approval of the Senate at the first meeting no later than the last week of September on a Tuesday or Thursday, and at other times by the request of the president of the Senate. An attendance policy will also be agreed upon at the first meeting. A senator’s absence should be filled by a proxy selected by the absent senator.

SECTION 6. DRESS CODE

As part of its purpose being the development and the upholding of the ideals of the Mary Baldwin community, it is required that members dress in a manner (business casual dress) that will create a positive self-image and instill a sense of dignity and pride in the Mary Baldwin University Student Government Association. Inappropriately dressed members will be given a warning for their first offense and the removal from her position following a subsequent offense of the dress code.