In an effort to better represent the student body, the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) Senate voted Nov. 5 to pass a constitutional amendment that, if approved by the student body in ASPC elections this coming spring, will add two voting senators to the ASPC Senate for the following semester.
The amendment proposes adding a first-year and a student-at-large to the Senate. Both would be ad hoc positions,
meaning that the senators would have no duties besides participating in weekly Senate
meetings and listening to their constituencies. In
comparison, all other members of ASPC are committee chairs and some have events to plan.
“While the rest of us senators have very specific constituencies
that we listen to, the constituency of this [student-at-large] senator will be
the student body as a whole, which could add a lot to the discussions because
of his or her broader insights,” South Campus Representative Nico Kass PO ’16 said.
Some senators still had concerns about the possible negative impacts of adding more seats to ASPC, however.
“You can never have too many voices, but you can definitely have an inflexible committee that fails to pass things,” Commissioner of Clubs Lazaros Chalkias PO ’16 said. “This is just a potential risk; when too many people are involved, it can be more difficult to get everyone on the same page.”
“Another concern is that many senators fail to fulfill their duties even with our current format,” Lazaros continued. “I don’t think it would be detrimental to ASPC, but I believe it reflects a view that we can change things by adding new things instead of evaluating ourselves and optimizing what we have.”
Kass began the discussion that led to the amendment at the Oct. 29 ASPC Senate meeting by noting the lack of first-year representation in the Senate. First-years at
Pomona tend to have only one representative in the Senate, the first-year class president.
“While it is possible for another first-year to be the south campus representative, and some usually do run, it is very difficult for one to
win because sophomore candidates have more experience,” Kass said.
“I was in favor of
encouraging more underclassman engagement in student government,” ASPC
President Darrell Jones III PO ’14 said.
According to Kass, his initial proposal to add one vice president
position for every class was rejected because it would add too many seats
to the Senate, making it too large for productive conversation. A majority of
the Senate agreed that adding just two new seats would be manageable.
Vice President for Campus Activities Giselle Fiero PO ’14 drafted the final language of the amendment, which mandates that it be passed by a majority of Pomona student body voters. It also states that the first-year senator will be chosen by only first-years, whereas the second ad hoc senator will be chosen by the student body as a whole.
Kass said that the Senate might add pilot positions through senatorial invitation next semester to test the efficacy of the amendment.