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Does Senate really work? A discussion

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  1. Introduction
  2. Working of the system
    1. Making Knor greener
    2. The role of environmentalists
    3. Impeccable timing
    4. The resolutions passed by Senate
  3. Failing of the system
    1. The senate oversight committee
    2. The solution
  4. The chicken and the egg
  5. Conclusion

According to the Knox College Student Senate Constitution, Student Senate is ?the supreme governing body in matters related to non-academic student life on campus,? and the ?official representative of the student body to the faculty, administration, and staff.? Its charge is to ?preserve the rights of the students as outlined in the Knox College Student Handbook and in the constitutions of the various judicial bodies.?

Sounds good, right? Senate's definition of itself includes the words ?supreme? and ?official:? though the Senate meetings themselves are far less formal than the literature implies, with jokes cracked, sandwiches consumed, and parliamentary procedure somewhat optional, that's just Knox. That's how we operate. We often do things by the seats of our pants, but we get the job done.

For Angie Martin and the Green Fee, Senate proved to be the best way to turn an idea into institutional change. For Brian Camozzi and others, Senate provides more obstacles than solutions.

[...] As an assignment for the independent study, Kasser had at least one of them attend Senate meetings every Thursday to get to know the way the system worked, to build relationships within the Senate, and to get a sense of how they could get their ideas heard. see this as practice,? said Kasser. ?Here's a chance for these young women to have an opportunity to practice getting involved in a system in a way that might have some success, and maybe it'll make them keep doing The practice started to pay off quickly. [...]

[...] In fact, he says, he's written a resolution for every senate meeting this term, but none of them have made it to the floor. He has a solution to that, as well. Currently, in order for a student to get a resolution passed, he or she must recruit a senator to present it for them. Non-senators cannot add anything to the senate agenda, nor can they vote: they can only influence the meetings by raising their hands, getting a position on the speakers list, and speaking. [...]

[...] that's really sad.? Sophomore Alana Heber has gone to one meeting in her Knox career, half because a friend made her, and half for ?shits and giggles.? She never went back, she says, because the meeting she attended was entirely devoted to picking out a design for the Senate t-shirt. ?Maybe I went on a bad day, but it really deterred she said. Still, her frustration with the pointless meeting is kind of a compliment to Senate: it stems from the idea that they could be doing something better. [...]

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