On Sunday, members of the Undergraduate Assembly considered whether its body is truly representative of the student body.
UA representative and College sophomore Bill Ding said that the elections system does not give international students enough representation in the general body.
Currently, upperclassmen UA representatives are elected based on the size of their home school while new student representatives are elected based on the size of the freshman class in their first year.
UA President and College and Wharton senior Abe Sutton said that class years are not a valid constituency because electing students based on their year in school might facilitate laziness in campaigning. Electing based on home school means that representatives from different years run against each other. This encourages more senior members of the body to actively think about their campaign platforms.
UA representative and Nursing junior Jessica McCurry said that she is the only Nursing representative currently on the body and that electing from constituencies other than a home school might lead to a loss of representation for smaller schools.
Some representatives brought up the idea of electing freshmen based on more concrete constituencies like college houses. In response, UA representative and College freshman Kat McKay noted that four of the current freshmen representatives live in Riepe College House and that, had they been competing against each other directly, it might have created an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere.
Sutton also raised the question of whether representatives really win based on their platforms or whether memorable slogans — like his own “Sex Under the Button” campaign — propel candidates toward winning.
A committee of UA representatives, as well as the Nominations and Elections Committee, will be investigating the topic further.
At Sunday night’s meeting, the UA also discussed how it can better promote Penn’s services.
The body is planning one or two weeks of heavy promotion for underutilized Penn resources at the beginning of the spring semester. It hopes to help spread awareness for the Division of Public Safety’s self-defense classes and Student Health Services’ personal nutrition consulting, as well as several other programs.Comments powered by Disqus
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