The show must go on.
That is the story for Auburn’s SGA Senate, who plans to continue to operate remotely during the suspended semester. According to SGA Vice President Hays Kassen, the senators will receive weekly updates that are sent out every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. These updates will cover what would be traditionally discussed in a senate meeting.
“If there is a current order, voting will take place online through a survey that we put together through an application called Baseline,” Kassen said. “Senators will have a chance to vote until 1 p.m. the next day.”
SGA Senate is not ruling out the possibility of holding meetings via Zoom, according to Kassen. As of right now, however, Senate will be sticking with the current method of operation by sending out weekly updates.
While meeting like this is not ideal, SGA President Ada Ruth Huntley is confident that Senate will be able to convene effectively, and is insistent that their work must continue.
“Student Senate will proceed with future orders with preference to those that are time-sensitive,” Huntley said. “They are being encouraged to postpone all other projects and legislation until we are able to return for in-person meetings.”
In the new format, while future orders of business will be worked on and current orders voted on, it all must be done in a virtual format, according to Kassen.
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“For example, in our new format, if there is legislation that is a future order on March 23, senators will have all week to respond to the post and give feedback on the legislation until it becomes a current order on March 30,” Kassen said. “Once it is a current order at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 30, [senators] will have until 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, to cast their vote.”
However, while Student Senate will continue remotely, Student Involvement has cancelled all of its organizations' events through April 10, including SGA's events, according to Huntley.
Kassen mentioned that a few SGA events that were due to happen in the next few weeks following the closing of the university were held, albeit in a different manner.
“SGA held a virtual Creed Week this past week, and we are still planning to hold events such as Priority1 and Safety Walk in an adjusted format,” Kassen said. “Priority1 will be held virtually through SGA’s social media platforms, and we are hoping to host Safety Walk at some point during the summer when it is determined as safe to return to campus.”
Senators are encouraged to continue to work closely with their constituents, and according to Huntley, serve a key link between students and administration in regards to the effects of the transition to online classes.
“I have been very encouraged by administration's conscious effort to make sure that SGA has been included in conversations regarding moving to online instruction,” Huntley said. “[They] have ensured that students have a voice and their concerns are being heard.”
While Huntley may be the primary point of contact between the students and the administration, she said Senate is instrumental in relaying the information she receives to students.
“Administration is reaching out to me as the SGA President, as I am expected to be their one point of contact that represents all of SGA,” Huntley said. “I am working to utilize a variety of outlets including our Senate to inform what I share with them.”
While transitioning to working remotely has been a challenge, Huntley is optimistic for the future.
“We want our students to know that we will continue to be a resource to them during this time,” Huntley said. “We want to encourage them to continue to do their part in creating a safe and healthy community and Auburn Family.”
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