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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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Student Senate elections increase Corps representation

When the 59th session of the Student Senate convened for the first time Wednesday night, many familiar heads were replaced with new ones. And a lot of those new heads had buzz cuts.
Recent student body elections caused a considerable shakeup in the Senate. The Corps of Cadets saw an increase in representation, with 23 senators being sworn into office. The Corps, which represents less than 5 percent of the Texas A&M student body, now holds more than 35 percent of the seats in the Senate.
In addition to increases in Corps membership, 17 Senate candidates who ran in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Senators voting bloc were disqualified, causing a significant change in the makeup of the Senate. As a result of these changes, many current senators foresee a possible ideological shift in the Senate.
The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Senators voting bloc was created to support senators who were fiscally conservative. With the loss of the 17 senators who received enough votes to be elected, many senators who strongly opposed fee increases are now out of the Senate.
“It is going to be a challenge to make sure that we are going to represent all students all over campus,” said Amanda Lanning, speaker pro-tempore for the 57th and 58th Senate sessions.
J.P. Morris, a junior political science major and senator representing the Corps of Cadets caucus, said the 23 Corps senators plan to coordinate and be organized. The Corps senators will hold meetings before senate meetings in order to decide how they plan to act on certain issues, he said.
Morris said the increase in cadets will not create a change in the way the Corps works, and that he did not foresee any ideological shifts, regardless of the increase of cadets or the disqualification of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Senators bloc.
“The people who were elected were a good group of people,” Morris said. “I don’t think that you are going to (see) the ideology changing that much.”
Lanning, a junior management major, said she was worried to hear that the Corps of Cadets senators were meeting outside of the Senate meetings but that she would give the senators the benefit of the doubt that they will work for all students.
Brian Foley, a senior political science major and former senator who was disqualified from the Senate prior to the elections but later represented some in their appeals to the judicial court, said he anticipated a huge shift.
“I think that there is an opportunity (for the Senate) to go one of two ways: they can go the way of the students to keep fees low and keep pressure on the administration, or they can go the way they have been going to simply inform the students of what the administration is doing,” Foley said. “I personally believe they are going to go the second of those ways and that disappoints me.”
Morris, however, said he does not anticipate a shortage of senators in the 58th session who will work to keep fees down.
“I think no matter who is in charge they are going to be trying (to) save as much money as possible,” Morris said.
Other officers for the 59th session of the Senate are: Speaker Frank Barat, a sophomore political science major, Rules and Regulations Chair Corey Nichols, a junior management major, Academic Affairs Chair Rich Pontious, a junior accounting major, External Affairs Chair Kristina Campbell, a sophomore accounting major, and Student Services Chair Jake Bathman, a sophomore political science major.

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