International amendment passes SGA Senate vote

Kaely Holloway

The Student Government Association voted and approved a previously unconstitutional amendment on Tuesday night, passing it along to appear on the student ballot for fall elections.

The amendment proposes adding a senate seat for Navitas or English as a Second Language International students from the at-large seats. It was revised last Thursday by the Judicial Council during an emergency meeting.

The passing of the amendment would result in WKU’s SGA being the first student government group in the state to have an international senate seat, according to SGA President Keyana Boka.

“I think it would be a great addition to the senate in the long run,” Boka said.

Boka and Mark Reeves, executive vice president, worked to have the amendment revised by the Council before Tuesday’s meeting so it could be voted on.

The revision involved changing the phrasing of the proposal from reading “International student senator” to “Navitas or English as a Second Language International student senator.”

“The purpose of it is basically to guarantee an international student representative on the Senate,” Boka said.

During the second read and debate of the amendment, Christopher Costa, a member of SGA, spoke out against it.

“I’m actually rising against this,” he said. “I’m very close to the international student situation. My father was an international student when he came to this university in 1980 from Columbia and my mother is an instructor for ESLI.”

Costa, though agreeing with the goal to have more international student involvement in SGA, disagrees that adding an international exclusive seat is the way to accomplish the goal.

“It does feel like a band aid. I mean, instead of us going to ESLI, to Navitas, ISS [International Student Services], we’re just saying ‘Hey, here’s a seat for you,’” Costa said.

He argued students involved in ESLI and Navitas would be too busy with their classwork to have adequate time to focus on SGA or other student activities. Students involved in these programs take 25 hours of class a week, he said.

“They’re here through ESLI or Navitas to learn English so that they can be successful at a university,” Costa said.

Despite his arguments, the amendment passed almost unanimously, with two votes against it.

Students will now decide the fate of this bill when fall elections begin next week, ending in a vote on Sept. 17-18. The amendment proposal will appear on the ballot located on TopNet.

“This is not the end of the process,” Reeves said.