The Student Government Association voted to create an international seat in the senate on Tuesday.
Joe McCall, a history lecturer and adviser for the International Student Cultural Organization, spoke to the senate before the vote about the need for an international chair. McCall said that there is an obvious lack of international students in SGA, and that this deficiency should be addressed.
“I feel so strongly that they need to have a voice in this forum,” McCall said.
There is currently only one international student in the senate, and Jonathan Lockwood, an international relations graduate student from Redding, California, said, “There are about 717 international students at this university, which is about 15 percent.”
The previous amendment in the SGA’s code of laws stated that the senate be composed of 45 members in the following areas: housing, academic, at-large, and one graduate student to represent the graduate school.
The new amendment states that the senate be composed of 46 members, with the addition of one international student to represent the international academic program.
During the meeting, several senators expressed their agreements and reservations with the proposal before it was passed.
Caitlin Smith, a sophomore political science major from Panama City, Florida, and a senator, said she supported the amendment.
“I highly encourage this bill,” Smith said. “I feel like we have such a melting pot in this school and I feel like the international students do need to be represented as well in the SGA.”
Before the amendment was passed, only five of the six academic areas were represented in the SGA.
In response to the passing of this amendment, Mac-Jane Chukwu, an international relations graduate student from Nigeria, said that the amendment was and important move for the international community on campus.
“It means a lot to us (international students),” Chukwu said. “It means we get to share our culture with SGA and have a say in what’s going on.
“Being that this is an international campus, we want the diversity to be represented properly in academics, sports, food, and every aspect of the campus. So this is something great for us.”
International students are not limited to run for this new seat. Every at-large position is available to them as well.
At-large senate elections will be held Wednesday, March 25. Applications are due Friday, March 20.