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Student government functions vary at different universities

March 25, 1997

By Jenni Luker

Lariat Reporter

As spring elections approach, the University's student government will undergo a change in both leadership and organization.

Although student governments play important roles at almost every university, their significance and organization varies with each.

Baylor University:

Student Government is made up of a student body president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. In addition there are class officers and Student Congress.

Student Congress is a body of 52 representatives elected by the students each year. It is led by the Student Body Vice President.

The representatives come from the different colleges, students living off-campus, students in each residence hall and students representing each class.

Student Congress is given a Student Life Fund each year from which it can allocate money to different student organizations according to its own discretion.

Student Congress may also create legislation concerning the student body, which, if passed, must then be presented to the administration.

According to Student Body Vice President Kevin McMurry, an Atlanta senior, the actions of Student Congress are often limited by the administration.

'Our power is limited because we have no recourse to act on the legislation we have passed.' McMurry said. 'The administration is always willing to listen to us and work with us, but they have the final say. If they don't approve of something, our hands are tied.'

The University of Texas at Austin:

The Student Assembly currently consists of 41 representatives.

There is one representative for every 2,000 students enrolled in each college. In addition, there are 12 at-large members.

The number of representatives varies each year based on enrollment.

The Student Assembly is able to allocate money to student organizations and pass other legislation effecting the student body.

'There is no guaranteed course of action made by the Student Assembly,' said UT's Student Body President, Jeff Tsai, in a telephone interview. 'The amount of effective legislation depends on the Assembly's relationship with the administration from year to year. This year we've had a good relationship with the administration and we were able to pass a lot of legislation without administrative interruption.'

Tsai added that allocations made by the Student Assembly do not require administration approval.

Texas Tech University:

The Student Association consists of a president, an internal vice president, an external vice president and a Student Senate.

The Student Senate has approximately 55 members, although the number varies based on enrollment.

There is one representative for every 250 students in each college and nine at-large representatives.

Like the representative bodies at Baylor and UT, the Student Senate at Tech is given funds, $140,000 each year, from which to allocate money to student organizations.

However, legislation passed by the Student Senate does not always have to receive administrative approval.

'We have a fair amount of power because we have a good relationship with the administration,' said Tech's Student Body Internal Vice President, Kristin Ketcham. 'We always work with the administration, but we do it as a courtesy to them.'

Texas Christian University:

Student government at TCU consists of the House of Student Representatives and the Programming Council.

The House of Student Representatives currently has 70 members with one representative per 50 on-campus residents. In addition, there are 15 Town Representatives which consist of off-campus residents.

Since these numbers are based on residence hall enrollment, they vary each semester.

'There were about 90 representatives last semester,' said TCU's Student Body Treasurer, Mark Irish.

The differences among student governments reflect the populations of the student bodies, the amount of money each university can allow for student allocations, and the liberties individual administrations choose to give the student governments.

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