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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

71st Student Senate kicks off with speaker election

Industrial+engineering+junior%26%23160%3BMitchell+Parker%26%23160%3Bwas+elected+to+be+the+new+speaker+of+the+Student+Senate.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Industrial engineering junior Mitchell Parker was elected to be the new speaker of the Student Senate.

Industrial engineering junior Mitch Parker was elected Speaker of the 71st Student Senate, taking the oath of office at the new session’s first meeting Wednesday night.
As speaker, Parker will serve as the legislative branch’s leader and highest representative, overseeing operations and acting as a medium between the senate, other student leaders and university administration. Of the three nominees for speaker, Parker garnered the majority of the newly-sworn-in senator’s votes, receiving 52 in total compared to 5 each received by off-campus senators Connor Hull and Olivia Krog. Study Body President Bobby Brooks presided over the meeting until Parker was elected.
Parker has previously served on the senate finance committee during the 69th and 70th sessions as a college of engineering senator, along with other leadership experience on the Engineering Mentorship Council, Aggie Research Scholars and the Interfraternity Council. He said one major goal going forward as speaker will be greater interaction between the senate and student leaders outside of student government, including the Corps of Cadets and the Memorial Student Center.
“Everyone remembers the tragedy that happened on [The University of Texas’] campus last spring, but something you may not know is that [A&M’s student government] sent a letter of condolence to UT’s student government and not only were the SBP’s, Speaker’s and Chief Justice’s signatures on this, but also the MSC President and the Corps Commander,” Park said. “This is the kind of unified student body front that should be present in everything that we do. Our voices can be heard and will be heard by uniting as one student body.”
Other plans include continuing to build communication and relationships with university administrators, greater partnerships between senate and the executive branch of student government and the potential creation of a dedicated senate diversity committee.
“Our current campus climate draws so much attention to issue of diversity and inclusion and a committee will open an avenue for all Aggie’s voices to be heard and for changes to be made,” Parker said.
With the next session of the Texas Legislature coming up during the next academic year, Parker said Student Senate will have a special opportunity to advocate for students and interact with lawmakers at a higher level.
Off-campus senator and computer science sophomore Tate Banks was elected to the office of Speaker pro tempore. As the speaker’s second-in-command, the pro temp oversees internal senate operations such as records, spending and senator development.
“There’s a lot of open lines of communication that need to be kept from pro temp to every single senator, from pro temp to all of [the executive branch],” said Taylor Day, senate finance committee chair in the 70th session. “It’s really like a hub of communication and I find that Senator Banks is very good at communicating, he’s not afraid to do so.”
With previous leadership experience in the senate’s 70th session, the Resident Housing Association and Honors Student Council, Banks said he hopes to create more opportunities for the senate to reach out and receive feedback from the student body.
“I want to send out a survey to the student body saying ‘how are we going to connect better to you? What do you want to see from us?’” Banks said. “I want to work on electronic polling … collecting data from students saying ‘What do you want to see from us?’ once again.”
The 71st session will continue to meet during the current semester to elect senate committee chairs and prepare for the 2018-2019 school year. The ongoing 70th session will continue until late April, with the next meeting slated for April 4.

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