by Nina Isabelle Alolod | May 20, 2023
In the midst of election season, it may be overwhelming to be flooded with the technicalities of the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) student assembly. In an interview, the incumbent SUSG President, Christian Entrata simplified how the assembly works. Besides his experience in the executive body of the SUSG, Christian was then a representative for his college in the SUSG Assembly.
Role of the Assembly
First, the assembly serves as the checks and balances of the student government. They hold accountability with the executive body, and without it there would be nobody to check how the executive body functions, for example in scrutinizing budget proposals.
Entrata illustrates this with the topic of expenditures. The student assembly keeps the executive body in check on whether or not these expenditures are reasonable or justifiable. In short, the assembly is in charge of auditing the liquidations of the executive body.
The second primary role of the student assembly is to lobby policies and resolutions to the student administration and implement reforms in the SUSG, which are two different things as Entrata explains. When the SUSG lobbies policies into the administration, these are basically suggestions or proposals on how the university can better operate in terms of the concerns of the student body. The implemented reforms must then be acted upon by the executive body.
“So for example, they institutionalize a fund allocation, institutionalize a new committee—these are reforms by the student assembly that the executive body has to act upon.” said Entrata.
On the other hand, reforms may not be implemented. As much as the SUSG might try to act upon resolutions directed to the student body, it may be denied by the administration. According to Entrata, resolutions are just suggestions and proposals, so they are not legally binding from the perspective of the administration so they have the option to ignore or not implement it.
The Speakers, the Minority and the Majority
Entrata explained that the student assembly has its own officers. This begins with the Speaker of the House and Speaker Pro Tempore. These are the leaders of the Assembly and are elected by the entire student assembly during their first session. The Speaker of the House presides over the sessions, among their many other responsibilities. They are also the last signatory on the Assembly’s end before the resolutions are forwarded to the President of the SUSG. On the other hand, the Speaker Pro Tempore presides over the chamber in the absence of the Speaker of the House.
The Majority and Minority floor leaders both serve as spokespersons for their party. Whichever party is in power, shown by the number of representatives in the Assembly, will be the majority. While the other is the minority.
How the student body can participate
The SUSG student assembly can be watched through livestreams and read through the minutes. Apart from that, there are reports about the progress of the event published on their Facebook page. Aside from being properly informed, there are other ways for the student body to participate in the assembly.
Entrata touches on visitor’s time which is when a student can relay a concern or convey a message to the entire house or student assembly by writing a letter to the speaker of the house. The visitor’s time is open to the public in Oriental Hall where any student can watch the assembly every Sunday.
“It’s very much transparent and very open to the student body,” ended Entrata.