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S.RES 22 passes, NSR to become college-elected position

S.RES 12, a resolution to provide support and begin providing accomodations for transgender and gender non-conforming students, passed unanimously with everyone in attendance voting in favor Feb. 12. Richard Li / Thresher

By Belinda Zhu     2/27/24 10:12pm

The Student Association passed a resolution to include an election for new students to select their new student representatives. Prior notice was waived, and the resolution passed Feb. 26. 

According to Brown College NSR Zain Rahman, this resolution aims to make NSRs feel like valuable and heard members of the Senate, hopefully inspiring them to be more active in the SA through their time at Rice.

Rahman, who introduced the resolution, said there has been dwindling interest in the SA and hopes this bill will help to create more enthusiasm.

“If NSRs [are] elected, they will feel even more incentive to help their colleges, and SA in general, as well as allow them to be more representative of their new community and new students across colleges,” Rahman told the Thresher after the resolution passed. “Furthermore, generally, the population of colleges will understand, ‘Hey, these NSRs are representing us. We voted for them,’ which will all help create more interest in the SA itself.”

Baker College NSR Asianna Junge said elections will help people to better understand what NSRs do. 

“If NSRs were an elected position, I think that they’d have more information about what the position does because people have to know what they’re voting for,” Junge said when the resolution was introduced. “I think this [bill] would also be a good step in a direction of informing more students at colleges of why [NSRs are] important.

Baker president Jonah Wagner said he was on the fence about the bill until he heard what Junge said. 

“What Junge said yesterday got me thinking about how the process of being elected makes a lot of students more interested in running for NSR,” Wagner, a senior, said to the Thresher. “It will help to elevate the position of NSRs within colleges and encourage more students to pursue involvement in the SA”

Rahman said he proposed the resolution in part because S.RES 06, which aimed to give NSRs voting powers, wasn’t passed in September. He said this was primarily because voting members felt that since NSRs weren’t elected, they weren’t representative of the student body.

“As an NSR, I feel like the core of the SA experience is having an idea of bills, working on them and voting,” Rahman said in an interview. “It adds so much more enrichment to the NSR experience and generates a lot of interest in the SA where you feel like you are connected and making real change. If we look at [the process of NSRs gaining voting rights], I would say [holding elections for NSRs] would be step one.”

Rahman clarified that this bill isn’t about NSR voting rights.

“A concern people have about this bill is that it is too focused on NSR voting,” Rahman said. “A common misconception is that people conflate this bill with NSR voting. Even though this bill is on the pathway to making that a reality, [this] is not NSR voting. This is the beginning of that process and not the culmination of it.”

The new way of electing NSRs still includes an application process. Now, after the application and interview process, the senator and president from each college will select at least three candidates at their discretion. These candidates will compete in a run-off election voted on by new students, including freshmen and transfers. The two with the most votes will become the NSRs.

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