Bryn Mawr Plenary Introduces Vox Vote and Reaches Quorum in Record Time

in Bryn Mawr/News by

By JULIA HABLAK, Staff Writer

A long line of students stretched toward Goodheart Theater at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28, for Bryn Mawr’s Fall Plenary. People were still pouring in when this year’s quorum, 446 students, was reached at 7:25 p.m., a record time.

For the first time, student groups were invited onstage to entertain their peers while the student body waited for quorum to be announced. The Night Owls, Mayuri, Extreme Keys, and Pulso Latino all garnered enthusiastic responses from the audience. The audience showed great appreciation and support for their classmates’ talents.

While at previous plenaries resolutions were decided by head count, this year’s SGA President Alisha Clark introduced VoxVote, an online voting site and app, in an effort to make the voting process quicker and more efficient. VoxVote is accessible on any technology with wifi, and students were encouraged to get laptops from the library if they couldn’t bring their own technology.

VoxVote did record votes and quorum, but there were a few bumps in the road. The slow wi-fi connection caused some initial frustration. A few individuals voiced their concern about the fact that, due to technical difficulties, not everyone’s vote was recorded. However, each resolution, with the exception of resolution #6, passed by an overwhelming majority, indicating that the missing votes would not have been enough to change the outcome.

As usual, microphones  were provided on the ground and in the balcony so that students could come up and voice their concerns about resolutions, or speak in favor of them. Only Resolution #3, a motion to make the student athlete representative a co-held position, passed without commentary. For all other resolutions, those who felt strongly or had clarifying questions got up to say a few words.

One of the more divisive topics was Resolution #2, which called to restructure SGA meeting and voting procedure. Specifically, it aimed to make SGA meetings and Plenary more accessible, using the social honor code to govern parliamentary procedure instead of using the more antiquated Robert’s Rules of Order.

Resolution #6 asked for emotional support animals in counseling center sessions. While some students were passionate about this, others felt they weren’t informed enough to make a decision. This resolution was tabled for next Plenary, with the promise of more detailed information in the future.

Hannah Smallwood briefly came onstage to speak about her resolution, which was not presented. The resolution was to change the signage to “gender-neutral” on six of the gendered bathrooms on campus. However, Residential Life has already made a commitment to this, so no vote by the undergraduate body was necessary.

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