Nearly half of SA bills not executed
December 7, 2007
p. After the April 16, 2007, shooting at Virginia Tech, Student Assembly senators James Evans ’07 and Ryan Eickel ’10 sponsored the Virginia Tech Condolence Act. The Act “commits all energies now and in the future to aid Virginia Tech in rebuilding the spirits of its student body through dedication to make even these darkest times a learning experience for us all in the value of human life.”
p. However, both Evans and Eickel neglected to send a letter of condolence to Virginia Tech. When Senate Chairman Matt Beato ’09 contacted Eickel about this over the summer, he replied, “I realize [now] that simply creating a piece of legislation really had no effect, but I myself was still learning about how the senate functions.”
p. Eickel recently commented on the bill.
p. “It would have been more meaningful to send a physical copy of the bill to Virginia Tech’s Student Assembly, but this was not our original intent,” he said.
p. The Virginia Tech Condolence Act was one of 12 bills passed during the senate’s spring session. Six of these bills took no action. Two bills involved spending. Four bills were passed concerning internal affairs.
p. The We Are All Hokies Act appropriated money for the purchase of memorial wristbands and donated the proceeds to a memorial fund.
p. So far in this session, 21 bills have been passed. Three of these required no action. Three more were approvals of SA spending.
p. There have been five bills this session in which an action was called for and the action has been completed.
p. It should be noted that most of these bills concerned internal affairs and did not need administrative approval.
p. One bill ensured run-off elections in the event of a tie in an SA election, one allowed graduate students to represent undergraduates in Honor Council proceedings, one restructured two senate committees, one allowed students easier access to law advice and one bill established a $15,000 fund to help register voters.
p. This leaves 10 passed bills that call for an action which has yet to be fulfilled. Two of these bills were passed last week.
p. The remaining eight bills require the cooperation of an outside party, with the exception of the Know Your Rights Act, which proposed the distribution of Know Your Rights cards.
p. Of the remaining seven bills, five are sponsored by Senator Matt Skibiak ’08. The implementation of the Handicap Accessibility Act has been pushed to the spring.
p. Meetings have begun regarding the Reasonable Exam Time and Pass/Fail Acts, but Skibiak was told by the chairman of the Education Policy Committee that the Pass/Fail Act will likely go nowhere.
p. “There will be more to come from this,” Skibiak said about the bill. “But since there seems to be less social activities on campus, there hasn’t been much complaining and therefore, not much for me to work with.”
p. Skibiak also sponsored the Syllabus Availability Act, which proposes the establishment of a website where students can search for class syllabi. A designer has been commissioned to create the site, but it has yet to be finished.
p. Observers have criticized the current senate for the poor implementation of bills.
p. “If something is passed in the senate and it doesn’t come to fruition, that’s the responsibility of the entire student assembly,” SA President Zach Pilchen ’09 said.
p. Beato pointed out that it is difficult for any one senator to accomplish anything.
p. “My goal is to alleviate this problem of senators not following up on passed and pending legislation, but I am still limited in that at the end of the day I cannot force anyone to do anything,” he said. “The check and balance on SA senators is ultimately the student body in elections.”
__A sentence has been removed that incorrectly stated that since the SA restructuring, incumbents, with one exception, have held their seats.__