MSA Senate Speaker withdraws bill to lower Senate GPA requirements

Senate Speaker Mark McDaniel: “We lose [potential] when we try to focus on someone being academically perfect or being academically imperfect.”

MSA Senate Speaker Mark McDaniel withdrew his own legislation last Thursday after debate on it became “feverish.”

McDaniel proposed many changes in bill 56-01 to the MSA bylaws relating to Senate participation. Disagreement on the topic of whether or not to lower the GPA requirement for leadership positions within Senate led to the legislation being tabled during Wednesday’s full Senate meeting.

McDaniel proposed that the minimum GPA requirement to be a committee chairperson or senator be lowered from 2.5 to 2.2, the same requirement stated in the M-Book, the code of conduct for MU students.

McDaniel said any student who can participate in Senate activities under the M-Book should be allowed to. He said he believed academics do not define a student’s worth as a leader.

“We lose [potential] when we try to focus on someone being academically perfect or being academically imperfect,” McDaniel said.

Senator Tim Davis and Budget Committee Chair Jack Blevins felt differently. Both supported lowering the requirement for senators, but thought leadership positions, such as committee chair positions, should have more stringent requirements.

“I feel like we should hold all of our leadership, whether paid or unpaid, to a high standard,” Tim Davis said. “And I think that at that point, there’s some times where you can dedicate yourself to something so much, that it’s having a negative effect elsewhere, and sometimes you can’t see that effect.”

Blevins also said he believed students in leadership positions should put their schoolwork before MSA responsibilities. He said having low grades could have detrimental effects on a student’s ability to lead.

“I can see someone in that kind of position that tries to dedicate too much of their time to it and that causes a decline in their GPA, which brings them below a certain bar and then causes them to kind of neglect the information, which is why they’re there,” Blevins said.

The concern that Blevins expressed mirrored that of Davis. While both wanted to see students succeed, they didn’t want them to forget their purpose for being at the university.

“I want students to be as successful as they can be on campus, whether that’s through leadership, whether it’s through grades, whether it’s through other student organizations, but at some point we have to realize that we’re all students first, and that’s the biggest thing,” Davis said.

Using his ability as the speaker to set his own requirements for Senate without the body’s approval, Mark McDaniel announced the rest of the changes proposed in bill 56-01 will go into effect. He will require senators to have a GPA of 2.2 but will continue to enforce the required 2.5 minimum GPA for chairpeople currently in the bylaws.

The next MSA full Senate will take place Sept. 28 in Leadership Auditorium.

Edited by Emily Gallion | egallion@themaneater.com

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