The Student Senate is the largest branch within Student Government. It is made up of a total of 40 senators (30 elected in April and 10 elected in October for the freshman and transfer students) elected by the student body. The Senate is run by the Speaker, the Speaker Pro-tempore, and the Clerk of the Student Senate. The Senate itself is broken down into six committees: Academic Affairs, University Services, Senate Administrative & Financial Affairs, University Life, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and Government & Community Relations. The Senate is responsible for passing all legislation brought before it, including resolutions that give statements on the opinions of the student body, and bills that provide funding for Student Government events and activities.
Student Senate Meetings occur every Thursday at 4:30pm. Please view our calendar HERE to find our meeting location. All are welcome to attend.
The Legislative Process
The Student Senate is known for the Legislative Process. A student Senator will send a copy of the legislation that they have drafted to the Clerk of the Senate. The Clerk will then number the legislation and send it to “first reading” or “new business” before the General Senate. At the first reading, the Speaker of the Student Senate will ask the Author of the Legislation to read the title of the Legislation, then he will refer the legislation to at least one committee for review.
During Committee, the Chair will introduce the legislation and ask if there is an author present to make any opening remarks. If the author is there, they may do so, if not the legislation is then moved into discussion and debate. During discussion and debate, the Senators present can offer their support, move to amend, table, and move the previous question (vote on the legislation).
If the legislation fails in committee or laid on the table indefinitely, it essentially dies and will not come to the general senate floor again. If passed by the committee it will be referred back to the general Senate and the Clerk will give it a spot on the agenda. This is referred to as “second reading” or “old business.” The same process that is used in committee is then used as the legislation is presented.
If a resolution is passed, it becomes an affirmation of an idea or initiative of the Student Government. If a Bill is passed, the Student Body President must sign the Bill to go into effect or veto the bill with a notice to the Student Senate within the next general meeting.
Committees of the Student Senate
Administrative and Financial Affairs Committee
The Administrative and Financial Affairs Committee is responsible for hearing and voting on all Bills and Bills to Amend the Code of Student Governance. This committee is also responsible for holding a hearing for any student that is going through the Student Senate Appointment Process. This committee is responsible for the Budget of the Student Senate.
The University Services Committee is responsible for all student concerns in the realm of Facilities, Information Technology, Sustainability, Housing Services and Residence Life, Parking and Transportation, and Dining Services. The Chair of the Committee sits on the Student Dining Board and appoints others to various committees around campus.
Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
The Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Committee is charged with maintaining and strengthening diversity and inclusion around campus. This committee works with not only cultural affairs, but also identity issues on campus as well.
University Life is a programatic/awareness committee that is responsible for Student Involvement, Well-Being and Safety, Athletics, and Off-Campus Student Services. This committee is responsible for planning and executing large scale events such as Gold Rush and DeStress Fest.
Government and Community Relations
The Government and Community Relations team is responsible for maintaining relations with all entities of Government that directly influences Mason. This includes Local (such as Fairfax City and County), The Virginia Legislature, and the Federal Government. Student Government works very closely with the University Government and Community Relations Department to implement new ideas and initiatives. This committee plans and executes Witch Watch and Mason Lobbies.
The Academic Affairs Committee is responsible for working with Academic Departments and Student Involvement to help students if problems arise in the Academic sphere of the University. This committee works on Deans Luncheons and different Programs for DeStress Fest as well.