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SBA Senate requests SGA reform law senators’ election process

Jordan Yee | Staff Photographer
Student Government Association Sen. Simon Patmore-Zarcone (Law-G) at the Student Bar Association meeting Tuesday.

Student Bar Association senators unanimously voted to request the Student Government Association reform the SGA senator election process for law students Tuesday.

SGA Sen. Simon Patmore-Zarcone (Law-G) said the SGA Senator Election Act requests that law students who want to run for a SGA Senate seat instead run for the position through the SBA election process due to low SGA turnout and a higher SBA election turnout. He said 71 students participated in the SGA elections in the 2022-23 academic year, while more than 700 students voted in the SBA elections.

Patmore-Zarcone said all three SGA law senators support the initiative, which would make their representation more “democratic” and accessible. He said it is unlikely law senators would implement the initiative this election round because SBA elections take place at the end of February, while SGA elections typically commence at the end of March. He said senators could implement the bill for the spring 2025 elections.

“One barrier I see to the objectives of this resolution is that it will be difficult to implement before the SBA elections, obviously,” Patmore-Zarcone said.

SBA President Shallum Atkinson said the $10,000 professional development fund, a financial foundation set aside for students to attend pre-professional career development events, is almost depleted, so the SBA no longer markets it to students.

SBA senators also unanimously voted to approve the Coffee Act, which would use SBA executive branch funds to provide coffee supplies in the GW Law School student lounge. SBA Sen. Jo Slaughter, who introduced the resolution, said the bill will allocate $650 each semester to have a continuous supply of coffee pods and other necessary materials for students.

SBA senators also unanimously voted to approve the creation of the GW chapter of the National Plaintiff Law Association. SBA Sen. Elan Reisner said the organization will provide students an opportunity to build connections with plaintiff attorneys in D.C., network with alumni and expose themselves to plaintiff law.

“This organization hosted their first job fair this summer and had over 3,300 law students from 55 law schools across 29 states,” Reisner said. “There are 17 National Plaintiff Law Associations in schools across the country.”

SBA senators unanimously voted to approve two ad hoc bills, both authored for the GW Lawmakers, a student organization that helps students practice lawmaking before they enter the workforce. Jaden Cloobeck, the founder of the GW Lawmakers, said the bills would allocate $90 for any necessary materials for their student body meeting devoted to board elections and allocate $80 for food and beverages for their upcoming State of the Union watch party.

“We’re going to be hosting our board elections next Monday, and as a way to incentivize people to vote, we’re requesting funding for pizza and plates,” Cloobeck said.

The next SBA Senate meeting will be held Feb. 20 at 9:15 pm in the LLC.

Hannah Marr contributed reporting.

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