The Undergraduate Government of Boston College has approved a revised version of its Senator Handbook for the 2018-2019 year. The handbook is a detailed guide that breaks down rules and regulations senators should follow in order to carry out their missions as a governing body. UGBC is specifically gearing the handbook around emphasizing to Student Assembly (SA) members how to implement resolutions rather than approving resolutions in the assembly and not taking further action, according to Ignacio Fletcher, UGBC executive vice president and MCAS ’20.
Beginning this academic year, it is a requirement for senators to talk to an administrator before drafting a resolution to discuss achievable goals a resolution can have. The SA is trying to do more outreach this year, whether it be meeting one-on-one or in groups with students and administrators. They hope to see more results from this, but Fletcher said they are concentrating on long-term progress for the organization.
“We’re trying to shift the focus this year,” Fletcher said. “Not as much resolution-based SA, more of initiative-based SA.”
The guide includes a section with names, offices, and contact information for key staff in academics and student affairs, and for general information. Also included are the divisions and programs each contact handles. This is the first time all of these contacts have been compiled together in the handbook for SA members to access.
Once a resolution is passed, the SA president is to present it to the UGBC Executive Council. Once the UGBC president signs the resolution, it is considered “implemented.” The sponsoring senator or senators are in charge of full implementation, meaning they will continue to meet with the administrators of the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) they discussed the resolution with during drafting to set goals for it, as well as receive feedback.
The mission statement that introduces the handbook highlights the SA’s goals in regards to advocating for the BC student body.
“The main thing that we really want to emphasize is we want to start planting the seeds for the long-term things that we want to see carried out throughout the years,” Fletcher said.
The SA intends to provide social, cultural, formational, and educational programs to enrich students’ educational experience—a new purpose motivated by the same sentiment of substance over grandstanding that led to the creation of the new guide, according to Fletcher. To execute this, the group plans to efficiently use student money and effort while informing students on issues of concern to the community, the Board of Trustees, the president, the administration, and any other appropriate body, according to the handbook. They encourage student input and participation to be in accord with BC’s motto: “Ever to Excel.”
“You represent the legislative body of UGBC, and as such you have the ability to directly push for policy change here at BC,” wrote Reed Piercey, UGBC president and MCAS ’19, in a message to the senators included in the handbook.
Fletcher wants senators to have the opportunity to meet with administrators and build relationships with them, in order to empower the representatives—with the end goal of eventually giving each senator the ability to maximize their potential impact on student affairs.
The handbook also includes a section on Title IX. According to Fletcher, this section is there to ensure that senators are informed about what Title IX is and to provide a working definition of the law and sexual misconduct, as well as outline what BC is doing to prevent sexual misconduct—including Haven, Speak About It, Bystander Intervention, and Concerns about Rape Education (CARE).
“This is so they are well rounded and informed about the issues that concern BC students,” Fletcher said. “So they can be the senators they want to be and the senators we want them to be too.”
There is also a UGBC “map” that lays out the divisions of UGBC to clear up confusion about what each division actually is, according to Fletcher. He emphasized that the SA isn’t the only body of UGBC.
“[Each division gets] together, they get to know each other, and the organization becomes united,” Fletcher said.
In terms of senator responsibilities, in addition to the typical day-to-day responsibilities expected, senators are also expected to meet with the EVP twice a semester for 20 minutes to discuss their progress within the SA. In addition, senators will choose one or more questions to post in the form of survey on the UGBC weekly newsletter, which is sent to the general student body each week.
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor