By Kimberly Winters
As KU Student Government Board leaders seek to more strictly enforce board policies, the average number of general meeting absences has declined by 28 percent since last year, according to SGB records. There are, however, currently four empty seats on the board as of the spring 2017 semester.
Last year, an average of 2.38 representatives were absent from each of SGB’s Tuesday night general meetings, according to SGB meeting minutes obtained through a Right-to-Know-Law request and individual members. This year, that average dropped to 1.70 absences per meeting.
The following representatives for Spring 2017 are no longer serving on the board for various reasons: Glenn Roedel, representative of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Sean Seksinsky, at-large representative; Makayla Glass and Yeiber Gonzalez, new student representatives.
According to meeting minutes, Seksinsky was removed due to poor attendance on March 21, 2017. Glass and Gonzalez resigned, but plan to return to the board in the future. Roedel disappears from the meeting attendance list on Jan. 31 and does not reappear.
Alicia Miller, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences representative and SGB parliamentarian, described the SGB’s current e-board as having mostly new members with a goal of more firmly enforcing SGB policies.
“This year was very different for the board,” according to Miller. “We were more strict when following our constitution and its policies.”
Since the new e-board took charge, six students have resigned or been removed, which is equal to last year.
When a student representative leaves the board, his or her spot on the board will remain empty for the rest of the semester, with a new election only held if the board’s population falls below 75 percent—which allows for up to eight empty seats in any given semester. Elections are held at the end of each semester.
According to the board’s constitution, SGB members must have a GPA of 2.3 and be in good standing with the university (i.e. no disciplinary issues). They must also have good attendance, with no more than two unexcused absences or three excused absences.
A missed event, two missed office hours, or a missed subcommittee meeting count as a half absence. Missing a general meeting is one full absence, and missing the SGB Retreat is two absences.
“The retreat is two days of information, and members are notified many months beforehand,” Miller said.
According to SGB Treasurer and At-large Representative Johan van Wyk, the board determines their goals for the semester during the weekend-long retreat.
Seksinky missed the retreat, as well as some office hours and subcommittee meetings. He never missed a single general meeting, however.
He was brought before the board twice for poor attendance and, on March 21, was officially removed.
“I apologize to my constituents,” Seksinsky said, “I’m sorry I let you down.”
Records from the 2015-2016 school year show six resigned or removed students, as well, three of them leaving within the first two meetings. Records from 2014/2015 show eight empty seats, all of them empty during the fall semester.
Records are missing for fall 2013, but spring 2014 records show only one student who left the board.
Five years ago, however, in the academic year of 2012/2013, a total of 12 students resigned or were removed from the SGB, eight in Fall 2012 alone. That year, attendance was at an all-time low, with an average of 4.33 absences at each meeting.
Over the past five years, the students who left the board have not been evenly distributed among the colleges. Today, there are ten representatives for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, six for the College of Business, five for the at-large student population, four for the College of Education, four for new students (i.e. freshmen and transfers) and three for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
These numbers have shifted slightly with the student body’s demographics, but not by a considerable amount.
Nevertheless, over the past five years, the proportion of student representatives who leave the board is inconsistent with the number of students assigned to each college.
Nine students have left from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, two from the College of Business, ten from the at-large representatives, three from the College of Education, six from the new student representatives and four from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
“I think it’s a major thing, like education and business majors are more dedicated to staying on track,” said sophomore Raven Macklin, a communication design major. “[The College of Visual and Performing Arts is] already not a huge group of people, and it’s definitely not a positive feeling to know that we aren’t being as well represented as we should.”