Student senate adds third cabinet-level position before elections


Photo courtesy Ryan Struyk.

One month before next year’s student senate elections, senators voted to add a third cabinet position, the vice president of public relations, to next year’s structure.

Senate currently has a president, executive vice-president and two cabinet-level positions. This change reverts to the 2011-12 governing structure, which had three cabinet spots.

The new vice president’s main role is to “communicate to the student body concerning student senate’s operations and initiatives,” according to the amended constitution passed last Tuesday.

The role will be involved in creating posters, managing social media and coordinating the student senate website.

“Social media and public relations are going to be a big part of student senate heading into the future,” said MD Perry, a sitting cabinet member on senate.

This frees up the role of the vice president of representation, another cabinet-level position, to spend more time managing students who sit on faculty governance committees around the campus.

Sitting executive vice president Josiah Sinclair hopes that freeing up the vice president of representation’s position will highlight the role of governance committees on campus.

“This year, senate decided to make [governance] a focus and to work hard to ensure quality representation on governance committees,” said Sinclair.

Several governances committees make decisions around Calvin’s campus under the authority of faculty senate. Each committee has at least one student representative, appointed by student senate.

“If you think student opinion should be heard and involved in making decisions about Calvin’s future, there’s a place for you on student senate,” he said.

Sinclair also said that this year has proved to be too much work for a two-person cabinet, and that adding another position will help distribute some of the work.

“This switch back is more of an acknowledgement that there’s too much work for four people,” said Sinclair. “Last year’s tweak did not improve our structure, so we are reverting back to our old structure.”

“This also clears up the plate of the executive vice president to do some of the administrative duties that get left behind in the busyness of student senate,” said Perry.

Last Tuesday’s change comes as the third major constitutional amendment in three years for Calvin’s student government.

In 2010-11, a three-person executive team governed senate. The following year, they reduced the executive team to two people and introduced a new cabinet with three people.

In 2011-12, following the resignation of then-cabinet member Moon Jung, the senate decided to narrow the cabinet down to two members. This is the structure that senate currently uses.

The addition of the new role will introduce another $1,500 position into senate’s budget. The executive vice president makes $1,800 per year and the student body president makes $2,500 per year.

The money will come from SARC, a fund designated for budgeting for all student organizations at Calvin.

Student senate also changed the name of the vice president of programming to the vice president of operations. Sinclair said that this change reflects the change in senate’s activities from hosting events and maintaining programs to initiating more projects and interacting with the administration.

The election for executive team and each of the three cabinet level positions is scheduled to take place on Friday, Apr. 19.