Fall 2016 Plenary Reaches Quorum in Record Time

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By Sophie Webb, Features Editor

Bryn Mawr students passed one resolution at Fall Plenary on the evening of Sunday, September 25, after reaching quorum in 59 minutes.

Sunday’s plenary was slightly different than plenaries of the past.  According to current SGA President Rhea Manglani, “Starting at 7 p.m. was the biggest [difference]. We reached quorum so fast… in the [SGA] constitution it states that we can wait for quorum for up to 3 hours, but the move to night plenaries looks permanent right now so we’re looking into updating that rule to be significantly shorter.”  

Quorum, the gathering of one-third of the student body, or 460 students, has previously taken close to three hours of waiting for students to trickle in. On this Sunday, quorum was reached in a little under an hour. Jocelyn Martinez ‘18 said, “It was a little surprising, to be honest. As a senior I’ve had the opportunity to experience my fair share of plenaries… I was moved that the Bryn Mawr community finally came through on fulfilling our civic duties.”

Hosted by the Self-Governance Association (SGA), Plenary is one of Bryn Mawr’s oldest traditions. Formed in 1892, Bryn Mawr SGA became the first self-governance association at an institution of higher education in the United States. Since then, SGA and Plenary have provided the opportunity for students to voice their ideas and create change within the college, a defining aspect of the Bryn Mawr experience.

Bryn Mawr’s plenary is operated under the system known as Robert’s Rules of Order.  The rules call for one-third of the student body, quorum, to be present before the proceedings begin, and allow for time-specified discussion and voting. On Sunday, the single resolution, presented by Genesis Perez-Melara’19 and Mariana Garcia ‘19, called for an updated resignation process within SGA itself.

 The resolution, which, after some discussion and amending, passed by a visible margin, stated that, “any member of the assembly who needs to resign their position must send a resignation letter at least four weeks before their official resignation date.” The resolution also stated that if a representative must resign their position immediately, they must find a temporary replacement until a new representative is voted on.

Students in general seem pleased with how plenary went.  Creighton Ward ’19 said, “I was pleased with how quickly we reached quorum and how smoothly the process went.” SGA president Manglani acknowledged that, “It was a little rough at times, but it was our first plenary and with the hours you spend planning, the quorum wait, and the constant anxiety of how plenary will go, things are bound to not run perfectly. But overall, I hope we can keep a similar model for the Spring just with more resolutions and shorter waiting time.” Although Manglani believes things could have gone smoother, she is excited because, “we received a lot of good feedback that we’re going to use to make next semester’s plenary run a lot more smoothly, so stay tuned for that in the spring!”

From the print edition published on Oct 5, 2016 

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