The Daily Gamecock

Student senate passes 3 pieces of legislation, refers 3 to various committees

USC's student senate passed three pieces of legislation and referred three others to various committees at its weekly meeting on Wednesday.

The pieces of legislation passed at the meeting were a recommendation to host a "white out" themed game during the 2024 football season, a recommendation to improve the transfer student experience by emailing the end-of-year orientation survey to all orientation participants and a bill to amend section 4-2-20 of the Student Government codes for the 115th's student senate reapportionment calculations during the 2024-2025 election term.

The first piece of legislation, SBL11563, which was introduced by senator William Barnes, is a recommendation that University of South Carolina Athletics and the football program organize a "white out" themed game for the upcoming football season. This recommendation stems from the observed positive impact on game-day attendance and atmospheres of other SEC and "famed" football programs, with the last such event at USC taking place in 2017. 

"I think, considering our schedule and the difficulty of it, having a game where we can all come coordinated would really show some school spirit and probably increase our attendance rates as well," Barnes said.

The legislation passed by acclamation.

The second piece of legislation, SBL11564, which was introduced by senators Grant Sellers and Mara Bean, is a recommendation to make the transfer orientation survey available to all participants, even if they leave the orientation early. In 2023, the university received 804 responses out of its 1,288 participants.

"A lot of the participants that go to the orientation leave at some point during the day because they've been pre-advised, which is great. That means our program is working," Sellers said. "The problem with that is that they are missing out on the end-of-orientation survey that's only provided to people that have been for the whole time." 

Sellers, who is a transfer student from USC Lancaster, said that transfer students should get the opportunity to provide feedback in order to improve their experience at the university, but not all students need to stay at orientation from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to do so.

"By getting the survey results emailed to them, they can confidently leave at about 1 o'clock when most things have ended and it's just advising," Sellers said. "They can give their feedback, because that's feedback that we haven't received because a good portion of those people leave early. And so we're going to get more feedback if we get them emailed, which is great."

The legislation passed by acclamation.

The other piece of legislation, SBL11561, which was proposed by senator Nick Harvey, is a bill to modify student senate reapportionment calculations for the 2024-2025 election term. The bill would specifically change District 3 (College of Engineering and Computing) from having four seats to five seats and District 10 (College of Pharmacy) from having three seats to two seats.

"This bill is a constitutional thing. In Article III, Subsection IV of the constitution, we have to do this," senator Camden Kaye said. "We just couldn't adopt it during election season. Now that election season is officially over — and congratulations to everyone who won — we can adopt this and avoid a constitutional crisis."

The senate entered a period of debate on the bill. Senator Isabell Miller spoke against it.

"Realigning it would take a seat away from the College of Pharmacy, and we're not necessarily debating that there shouldn't be that realignment, but more so everyone who ran and current election season was under the impression that there would be three seats for this year," Miller said. "I'm not necessarily (saying) that there shouldn't be a realignment, but that it should not be happening until the 2025-2026 election term due to whenever this is brought about within the elections."

Although there were only two people running for seats in the College of Pharmacy, more people were recruited to get someone to fill the third seat. The senate vacancy for the College of Pharmacy was announced at the election results tonight. There is no longer a vacant seat due to realignment.

Senator Maura Hamilton said seat determinants are based off of the particular college's population of students.

After a vote of 25 in favor and 12 against, the legislation was adopted by majority.

"Even if this bill had died right now, we would have had to bring it right back up in order to fulfill our constitutional obligations," Kaye said. "So, rather pass it than see the same bill up here next week." 

The three pieces of legislation that were referred to committees included a recommendation to improve the accessibility of HPV vaccination and 'Pap' test on campus, a recommendation to add the Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention (SAVIP) hotline to the back of all future CarolinaCards and a bill to specify the notice and enforcement of the absence policy.

There are two more sessions left for the 115th student senate. The next session will take place on Feb. 28, and the final session will take place the Wednesday after spring break.