The 112th student senate, meeting for the first time over a Zoom conference call, selected its committee officers and speaker pro tempore Wednesday.
The main issue of the meeting was the speaker pro tempore vote. The 112th student senate voted for senator Sawyer McDuffie as speaker pro tempore 24-14 over senator Dylan Butler.
“I just wanted to ... elevate the tone of [senate] and make sure that we're being respected,” McDuffie said before being elected.
The speaker pro tempore fills in for the speaker of the student senate when necessary, is chair of the senate rules committee and delegation steering committee and serves as the informal liaison between the student senate and the university.
The conversation surrounding higher standards for senators continued throughout the meeting. Senator Mariah Cochran, a supporter of McDuffie’s, voiced agreement with his sentiment.
“I hope that this session, or this year's term, we can work on the cattiness and the pettiness that we did last semester,” Cochran said. "I want to go to senate and actually do what we're supposed to do in senate and not put our personal stuff into senate."
In addition to choosing a new speaker pro tempore, regular updates were heard from the Residence Hall Association, which is using $800 of its $1000 discretionary fund to refill the Gamecock Food Pantry.
Senator Katherine Zeller concluded the meeting with a call to action to senators new and old.
“Our role in senate is to serve the student body. We’re their voice, and it's our obligation to not only represent them but to defend them. This means question everything. We are not sheep, we are lions,” Zeller said. “If we allow anything to just slide through, then we give all the students’ power away.”