The University of Central Florida Student Government Association is opening applications for students to fill vacant Senate seats.
After Senate elections in September, many seats were left open due to colleges having more seats than students who ran in the election. In the SGA Senate, each college is given one seat per 1,000 students enrolled in the college. This ensures balanced representation for all the colleges at the UCF.
The open positions include one seat for the College of Education, two seats for the College of Nursing, two seats for regional campuses, one seat for undeclared studies and all eight seats for the College of Graduate Studies.
Only one student, Austin Jacobs, ran for the position for the College of Graduate Studies during the election. Without opposition, Jacobs was elected, but he resigned from the position immediately after being sworn in, said Chief Justice Taylor Scimeca.
Jacobs said that the primary reason for his resignation was that the time commitment requirements are the same for every senator. He believes that this requirement doesn’t account for the differences in responsibility between undergraduate students and graduate students.
“In graduate school, there’s a bit more of a workload, but also, depending on your field, the culture is one of ‘publish or perish’ if you intend to go into academia,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs also said that the lack of acknowledgment of graduate students’ schedules is a major contributor in only having one person that ran for Senate. He said that part of the reason he ran in the first place was to attempt to develop a new understanding of graduate students within the Senate. After winning the election, however, he changed his mind.
“It seemed like an endeavor that might actually endanger my ability to contribute to my publications and contribute to my research,” Jacobs said.
Crystian Cepeda, speaker of the Senate, said that his experience in SGA has done nothing but help his career. He said that serving as senator gives students opportunities that they may not have without the SGA. One of the benefits is getting to meet the dean of their college.
On the issue of time requirements, Cepeda said that Jacobs never formally raised his concerns when the two met after the election results were announced.
Senators are given a bit of leeway when it comes to absences. According to Rule Seven of the Senate Rules, all senators are allotted two absences. This number does not include excused absences for situations such as research presentations or family emergencies. Missing the initial roll call or the final roll call of a Senate meeting only counts as half of an absence.
Title III of the SGA statutes says that senators who are going to miss an extended period of time due to academic pursuits can designate a Senate Signover to practice all rights and privileges in the senator’s stead.
Students interested in serving on the Senate for their college can apply by completing the SGA application form in the Executive Branch organization section on Knight Connect.