What does Senate do?

Illustration by Katherine Alperin


THE WORD “SENATE” summons failed bills, government shutdowns, and the shortcomings of bureaucracy. When it comes to the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC), many students are left wondering if our senate is similar, and furthermore, what does our senate even do?

Walking into a weekly meeting, held Thursdays in J.R. Howard 102, there are students from all corners of the Lewis & Clark community. Some of them decided to run in order to push agendas and make changes, while others wanted to more generally give back to their community. Regardless, there is a room full of eager faces, ready to discuss issues and bring forth their constituent’s complaints in a forum full of people who can enact change.

In addition to class senators, there is also a collection of representatives who have voting power. The groups include the International Students of Lewis & Clark, the Multicultural Club Consortium, the Queer Community Representative, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the Black Student Union, and the Feminist Student Union.

Sitting beside the representatives, there are the liaisons who don’t have voting power, but represent their groups and give them voice on the senate floor. The liaisons are from the Alumni and Parent Programs, the Campus Activities Board, Civic Engagement, and the Student Media Board.

All of these members converge in a civil forum to discuss issues and to bring forth legislation that can fix these issues.

Legislation vcomes in two forms: bills and resolutions. Bills are used to amend the ASLC constitution, while resolutions are used to “address, acknowledge, request, voice, or determine action on matters of concern to the student body” according to the Senate Bylaws, which outline all of the senate rules. It is within these two functions that the senate can then discuss and take action with the student body’s concerns.

If there is something you don’t like about the Bon, talk to a senator who can then draft a resolution or discuss the issue with the Bon Appétit committee. If there is a problem with the medical amnesty policy at LC, reach out to a senator and express your concerns so that the senator can meet with the Student Advisory Team and draft a resolution to Student Rights and Responsibilities. The LC senators are here as a resource for the rest of the community.

Members of the senate also have the opportunity in their meetings to listen to students as well as guest speakers from the LC community. These include faculty, administration, and members of clubs on campus. If a student ever feels that they need to voice a concern that isn’t being heard, they are always welcome to come to a meeting and speak directly to the senate.

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