On April 29, ASA, in its last meeting for the 2018-2019 year, voted down a proposal to decrease the number of senator positions on ASA.
The debate about whether to decrease the number of senators in ASA had been ongoing.
“The idea of decreasing the number of senators has been around for a while. When Logan [Hattervig] and I were freshmen, then-student body president Mason Van Essen spoke to us about how the Senate had grown over time and was becoming inefficient as a result,” said junior senator Ryan Solberg.
One reason Solberg said the Senate has steadily increased in size over time, but there is no evidence that the institution has become more effective or representative of the student body as a result.
There are currently 28 student senator positions in ASA divided into five committees. Augustana sophomore and current ASA Co-Curriculum senator Audrey Cope said that if the vote had passed, it would have had a noticeable effect on the landscape of ASA.
“Five senate positions will be reduced: off campus, apartment theme house, sophomore, junior and senior,” Cope said. This will leave one off-campus senator, one apartment theme house senator, and four sophomore, four junior, and four senior [senators].”
A decrease in the number of senators would not only have led to an increase in the current responsibilities for the remaining ASA senators, but it would also mean adding different types of responsibilities, Cope said.
ASA members who voted against the measure to decrease the number of senators, including Cope, were troubled by what that would do to potential candidates.
“The biggest con to me is that we are taking away leadership opportunities for five students and thus five more opinions from the Senate,” Cope said.
Although members of ASA have decided not to decrease the number of senators, the topic will be opened again for debate during the next academic year, said International senator Luca Amayo during the meeting,
Amayo and Cope will serve as president and vice president of ASA over the next academic year.