Student Senate Update—March 16, 2016

Here are some things to know from this week’s Senate meeting.

  • Speaker Vivian Frederick:
    • The Centennial Promenade will be done April 1. (Editor’s note: Construction remains beyond the deadline Frederick indicated, and she has refused to comment on the matter.)
    • SMU is planning on building an $80 million indoor football facility where the current soccer field is, which would take away the 140 parking spaces by Mac’s Place. (Editor’s note: This will be a disaster for parking.)
  • Parliamentarian Colleen McKenzie:
    • Student Representative to the Board of Trustees applications are open!
  • Membership Chair Kirk Presley:
    • The Student Body Officer debate will be in the HT Commons on March 22 at 5 PM.
    • There will be another round of Greek House Tours for SBO candidates next Monday.
    • Elections for next year’s Student Senators and SBOs will be next Wednesday and Thursday, March 23–24.
  • S-102-14: A Resolution Strongly Recommending the Extension of Course Drop Dates
    • Currently, SMU allows only five class days for students to drop a course without receiving a W on their transcript.
    • Many of our cohort and aspiring universities allow many more days than this.
      • Average for cohort universities: 10.72 class days
      • Average for aspirational universities: 13.9 class days
    • This bill would extend the number of class days a student could drop a course without receiving a W.
    • Tabled for next week.

On another note, the campaign season for next year’s Student Senators and Student Body Officers is now underway. Let’s be frank: most of us don’t give a damn about who represents us in Senate. Half of the student body sees Senate as an ineffectual, self–congratulating, toothless organization made up of self–important people. The other half doesn’t even know Senate exists. There’s grounds for both of those viewpoints. The Senate of 2016 doesn’t have the power it used to have decades ago to personally alter student life, and awareness of Senate’s activities seems to have hit rock bottom. In addition, too many Senators right now forgo an active role in their position in favor of resting on their laurels. Senators were recently gifted with the privilege to request the Community Engagement proficiency for their service, but how many have contributed significant amounts to the community to deserve it?

I would encourage everyone to ask their incumbent representatives about their actual accomplishments during the tenure in the Senate, and their challengers about exactly how they would solve problems on campus. Anyone can name the laundry list of things that SMU can improve upon and post it on a campaign website. It is much rarer and much more impressive for a person to know which administrators to talk to, and which specific steps can be taken to address problems rather than using platitudes like “bringing the community together” and, “opening a dialogue”, or “listening to the people.”

Of course there are Senators and Student Body Officers who actually pursue issues, and hold themselves accountable to delivering results. There are plenty of those individuals—although not as many as I would have hoped—and I applaud them for taking up the cause in a chamber that seems apathetic at times. Even though this is my first semester with Senate, I know I have not been as active as I would like. I hope that through these columns I can at least do a small job in publicizing what goes on in Senate. This election cycle, I implore you to choose Senators who have proven themselves to be active in their community, and have taken advantage of their positions to actually solve the issues that students see as immutable.

Here are the candidates for your 103rd Student Senate. I’ve starred current members of the 102nd Senate.

Name School
Naomi Samuel* African–American
Justin Chang Asian–American
Julia Scambray* Cox
Samuel Gordon* Cox
David Shirzad Cox
Harrison Conly Cox
Nick McLaughlin* Cox
Vivian Frederick* Cox
Cameron Drake Farr Cox
Nicholas Killian* Cox
Andrew Casey Cox
William Ross Jones Cox
Tyler Anderson Cox
Jack Snyder Cox
Stephen Van Buren Cox
Nathan Jajan Cox
Alexander Groszek Cox
Donna Charkhkar Cox
Benjamin Prengler Dedman
Benjamin Ovenshire* Dedman
Fairooz Adams Dedman
Alexa Maffei* Dedman
Kennady Galloway Dedman
Declan Healey Dedman
Diana Kay Manley Dedman
Nancy Gracen Opler Klein Dedman
Jose Manuel Santoyo* Hispanic-American
Matthew Lucci* Lyle
Blake Rainey* Lyle
Nathaniel DeVera* Lyle
Caroline Street* Lyle
Ryan Vukasin Lyle
Aleena Taufiq Lyle
Julian Gutierrez Lyle
Grant Vogel Dow Meadows
Madisen Reid* Meadows
Matthew Charles Smith Pre-Major
Kelsey Gwinn Pre-Major
Benjamin Ovenshire* Pre-Major
Adam Bixby Pre-Major
Kelsey Shipman* Pre-Major
Davis Wells Pre-Major
Trey Dalton Pre-Major
Julian Reyna Pre-Major
Cecily Elizabeth Cox Transfer

And here are your candidates for the Student Body Officer positions.

Presidential Candidates
Vivian Frederick
Blake Rainey

Vice Presidential Candidates
Matthew Lucci
Spencer Reppond
Nikki Fletcher

Secretary Candidates
Will Jones

Daniel is a Student Senator representing the Lyle School of Engineering. If you have any questions about this week’s update or Student Senate feel free to reach him at

Editor’s Note: Hilltopics does not endorse any candidates for Student Senate or Student Body Officers.