Illustration by Joaquín Kunkel
Only 0.66% of the Student Body is involved; The General Assembly may no longer be on the agenda of the Student Government.
On Sunday Feb. 4 the first GA of the Spring Semester took place in the West Campus Dining Hall. At the top of the agenda was the future and importance of the General Assembly meetings for the student body.
This topic was raised following a large decrease in the number of students involved in the meetings compared to the beginning of Fall, according to representatives of the Student Government.
This week, only 12 students attended the meeting. NYU Abu Dhabi has a student population of more than 1200, bringing the rate of student body participation to about one percent.
A general fear dominated the gathering concerning the future of these bi-weekly meetings. Further, a shared sentiment among committee members in attendance suggested that the General Assembly’s role to listen to the student body could be effectuated through office hours of Student Government’s Executive Board members or through a collaboration with various campus groups, such as Resident Assistants.
This proposed solution would entail students expressing their opinions to Student Government officials in a private setting. Then, these officials would be in charge of delivering suggestions and complaints during the weekly closed-door Executive Board meetings.
Some, however, emphasized the importance of keeping the General Assembly and instead working on treating the low participation rate as a logistical issue. In this case, a way to address the issue would be to improve communications and advertisements.
“I would say I am for having the General Assembly meetings, but not regularly. The low participation rate is clearly an issue, especially [since all] the voting processes take place during [GA]. So with that in mind, people can bring, let’s say 10 people [and] veto a proposal,” said Motoi Oyane, Student Representative of the Class of 2020.
“As we discussed, thematized General Assembly meetings ... constitutional amendments and discussions about consent will be a nice way to assemble a crowd. I think we should not cancel [the GA] because that will do nothing to bring us closer to the student body. In terms of advertisement, I would love to make Student Government more transparent by having weekly updates on the page, planning more events, and/or collaborating with different departments on campus,” added Oyane.
Whether the General Assembly stays or not, the voting process for various decisions concerning the student body represented a divisive issue. While some encouraged the presence of participants to vote on different motions, others suggested that an online platform would facilitate the task as it responds to the need of a new generation that is technology-oriented.
“We have office hours almost everyday, available on social media for the past few years and that will not change even if we make the General Assembly occasional. We always discuss issues and points that students raise in our E-Board meeting. Our new White Board initiative in the Baraha was one way we thought we could make the Student Government more approachable,” concluded Oyane.
Hind Ait Mout is News Editor. Email her at [email protected]