New CAS student senators hope to connect with classmates this fall

SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences student senators believe changes in the student government structure will give better representation to CAS students next fall.

Cody Osborne

Cody Osborne

Landon Montgomery

Landon Montgomery

Haley Schlecht

Haley Schlecht

Students were elected by direct vote from students enrolled in each college on candidates who were also enrolled in their respective colleges. This year’s CAS representatives are sophomore Cody Osborne, junior Criminal Justice major Haley Schlecht and freshman communications major Landon Montgomery. The number of student senators increases to 22 from 16 this school year, with each college represented by two to three senators.

Osborne said under the old system, each senator did not represent students he attended classes with and the number of students represented was too broad. Now three CAS senators will represent departments in the college that are closely related to their major. For example, the departments Schlecht will represent include the criminal justice department, sociology department and political science department.

“It was definitely an eye opener when there was 16 senators all together and there was three or four that weren’t from a Greek organization,” Osborne said. “It’s a very small part of the total population, but yet their vote was a big enough turnout that they had 85 percent of the senate. We were trying to figure out how we could at least represent our constituents. We wanted to make sure everybody had their voice.”

Schlecht decided to run for student government because she wanted to keep transfer students and older students informed as they transition into life at SIUE. She said when she transferred to SIUE from Southwestern Illinois College that she didn’t receive the guidance she needed when accessing university services.

“I wanted to be a part of helping people get their ideas [across],” Schlecht said. “As a transfer student I had a lot of things that I really wanted to help. When I came here as a junior it was harder for me to get in. The transfer students are kind of thrown into the mix, so I know it was really important for me to help get that changed. To make sure all students felt more welcome. If I got into the student government, it would be easier to help make changes and to help other people who might also have that problem or any other problem.”

Osborne was among the students who pushed for better representation and greater accessibility. An election commissioner was hired to help coordinate the election that took place April 5-6. Staff members were hired to develop an action plan to change the political system.

Osborne said the newer system provides better access to senators for student issues such as student groups that need funding, students that would like to start a new student organization or students that want to change the by-laws of a current student club.

“We want students to understand that through us it is possible to make those changes,” Osborne said. “We want to make sure they understand that we’re their bridge between students and the faculty and the administration all the way up to President [Randy] Dunn.”

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