Student Senate passed two resolutions during its general body meeting last night, effectively changing its election procedure.
WSU students can now vote for their college’s representative in a university-wide election. Prior to this resolution, some Student Senate positions were filled using a constituency-based voting process, meaning the representatives were chosen based on the Senate’s recommendation and vote. Now, each Senate representative will be elected by students.
The election will begin the second week of March and end the second week of April.
“This puts the power directly in the hands of students,” said Rexhinaldo Nazarko, parliamentarian for Student Senate. “These resolutions directly impact the students and makes our body more democratic.”
The Senate also passed another resolution that further impacts its election process. If there is a vacant seat on the board, then the Senate will issue a campus-wide notice of the open seat. This gives students the opportunity to apply and fill the vacancy.
To fill a seat, students must apply within two weeks of the public notice. Following the submission of their application, students will then be formally interviewed by the Senate. The Senate then votes for the candidate who best suits the position.
Along with the approval of the two resolutions, Senate discussed campus housing issues. Tim Michael, vice president of student auxiliary services and chief housing officer, was present at the meeting.
Dalia Ibrahim, vice president and housing and residential life representative, asked Michael his plans are concerning the cockroach issue in University Tower Apartments, a longstanding issue that WSU housing has faced.
“This is ridiculous,” said Ibrahim. “We shouldn’t have a roach problem in one of our housing facilities.”
WSU has teamed with a pest control company to fix the cockroach issue, Michael said.
“I will be frank and say the roach problem is real,” Michael said. “However, we are going to war with the roaches.”
If a student is having issues with cockroaches, they can request for a pest inspection, Michael said. Ibrahim said many students who had pest inspections were not happy with the process.
“Many apartments that checked clear of roaches actually ended up having them,” she said. “Many students felt that the inspections were not thorough enough.”
Michael said he will talk to the pest control company to fix this issue. He further said WSU will take action against students who do not meet the housing standards, meaning students with unclean rooms or kitchens will be evicted because that is a major cause of cockroaches.
“99 percent of pest problems come from the cleanliness of kitchens,” he said. “We will evict people who do not meet our standards.”
The Senate also heard concerns from students. Brandon Stout, representative of Students for a Democratic Society, asked the Senate to make gender-neutral bathrooms a bigger priority on the body’s agenda.
“We’ve emailed and spoken with the Senate, and we’ve been ignored,” Stout said. “We also have been ignored by DOSO (Dean of Students Office) and threatened by WSUPD (Wayne State Police Department) when we publicly protested about this issue.”
Stout said gender-neutral bathrooms on campus are often improperly labeled.
“We went around campus and found that a few bathrooms that were supposed to be gender-neutral were labeled as staff or were single-stalled, gender-conforming bathrooms,” he said. “We’re asking to correctly mark these bathrooms and create gender-neutral bathrooms in all buildings, especially in Old Main and State Hall.”
Stout said students shouldn’t have to run across campus just to simply use the bathroom due to the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms in certain buildings.
Stuart Baum, president of Student Senate, said he was sorry for the response Stout and his organization received in the past year.
“This is an issue we are interested in working on as well,” said Baum. “We want to work with your organization and make this a bigger priority.”
The next Student Senate meeting will be on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.in Hilberry A/B.
Slone Terranella is news editor of The South End. She can be reached at email@example.com.