There’s a lot going on in JSU’s Student Senate right now.
“The senators do much more than meet for an hour once per week,” says Vice President of Student Senate Brett Johnson. They plan, organize and operate tailgates, homecoming events, and philanthropy projects, meet with university officials and faculty to express student concerns on issues like academic policy and housing policy, and lobby the State Legislature in Montgomery for more funding, among other things.
Most of the senate’s work is done through 10 standing committees, which each senator has to actively serve in two of.
At this past Monday night’s senate meeting, a discussion began about possible changes to the parking violation appeals process at JSU. “But it is going to be an ongoing process, and no legislation is being proposed yet,” Johnson says.
The senate wishes to begin work with the University Police Department on recommendations that came from their assessment by the Virginia Community Policing Institute.
“What they have suggested is that the current parking violation appeals system is too out-dated, biased, and multi-faceted,” Johnson explains.
The proposal is that the appeals process is moved to an online-only format where those who receive parking violations can file an appeal and upload photos or video through a secure link. No names will be used on the submissions, as each case will only be identified by a number.
“The discussion we are going to have through SGA is how to best implement that and how to ensure student representation in the process,” Johnson says. He adds that altering the appeals process could potentially lead to the removal of the Chief Justice position as an executive position, but still maintain the Chief Justice and associate justices as checks and balances.
The student senate meets every Monday at 6:00 p.m. in the TMB auditorium. All students are encouraged to attend.
“They [the students] are our ultimate accountability, and their voice matters,” Johnson says. “There is a section in each senate meeting for a Student Body Report in which any student can address the senate, ask questions, pose concerns, or provide input on policy. We love it when students take the initiative to do that.”
There are 35 spots on the student senate, but only 34 of those seats are currently filled. Johnson says he is looking to fill that vacant seat. Students can apply for the position by visiting the Office of Student Life and picking up an application there. In order to qualify for a senator position, students much have 12 credit hours at JSU and a 2.5 GPA.