Monday, April 13, 2009

Get the SMPA a seat in the SA Senate - A strive towards equal representation

It is time that the School of Media and Public Affairs gets its much-deserved seat in the Student Association Senate. For too long SMPA students have been without a representative to voice their distinct and differentiated needs to our SA legislative body. This is not another example of SA politics, but rather, a strive towards equal representation for all facets of our University. For too long our fellow peers in the Columbian College of Art and Science have drowned out students' voices in the SMPA. As students who are part of a distinct school within GW and are heavily outnumbered by the rest of the Columbian school, we need a representative who will look out for our specific needs. 

Please fill out this petition, or join the facebook group to voice your desire for equal representation. 

The SA is an organization that does not welcome change. However, the elected officials of the SA senate are reasonable and well-intentioned students who place the well being of the University high of each of his or her priority list. We need to reach out to those Senators and talk through our issues and come to an amicable conclusion. There is no justifiable reason why SMPA should not be granted its own seat. 

According to the Student Association Constitution,
"Any degree-granting school created or redesignated by Act of the Board of trustees shall be guaranteed representation in the Senate according to the provisions of subsection A of this Section" (Article 1, Section 2, Subsection B).
SMPA offers specified degrees in Political Communication and Journalism & Mass Communication, which are not available in any other section of the University. Although Poli Comm and JMC students receive diplomas that are from the Columbian College of Art and Science, it does not eliminate the SMPA's status as a "degree-granting" school. Students were required to apply specifically into SMPA and take courses offered only for SMPA majors. This, as well as its name, the School of Media and Public Affairs (versus, for example, the Department of Psychology) states clearly that the SMPA should be entitled to its own seat. 

In addition, according to the SA's apportionment model, the SMPA fits the criteria for its own seat. According to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning at GW, in the fall of 2008, there were 291 SMPA students. The SA constitution states "One (1) Senator for one (1) to one thousand (1,000) students officially registered therein" (Article 1, Section 2, Subsection A, Part 1)

It is time to engage in a discussion with the SA. We are not here to yell and scream at the people who dedicate much of their time to our University. We are here to sit down, diplomatically, and lay out our argument. As stated in our First Amendment rights, we are free to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" and this will be our first step in reaching our final goal. 

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