About MSA Senate
The Legislative Branch of MSA is the Senate, which consists of 81 student senators, with 9 seats designated for joint session organizations, and headed by the Senate Speaker. Internally, the Senate serves as a check to the executive and judicial branches by creating policies, rules, and regulations that guide the operations of MSA. Externally, the Senate represents the interest of the student body within the University and around the Mizzou community through several means including collaborating with other entities and the creation of resolutions.
Committees and Calendar
Each of MSA’s six Senate Committees is charged with a specific area of student life or MSA. All Senators are voting members of a committee, and meetings are open to the public. Committees are presented bills which must be voted through before being brought to full Senate.
Academic Affairs Committee
Academic Affairs’ mission is to act as an intermediary between Mizzou students, faculty and staff with the goal of making a better learning environment for MU students. Academics are integral to every student’s life at MU and Academic Affairs works diligently to ensure that each student has the opportunity to excel academically. We hope that each new class of students has as many or more educational opportunities than the previous one.
Academic Affairs has a long and storied history. In the past we have hosted the International Teaching Assistant Program, identified problem areas on campus, and advocated student opinion. Under the previous chairman, Benjamin Levin, Academic Affairs enjoyed strong cooperative relations between Mizzou Faculty and the MSA Senate. Last year Academic Affairs Senators conducted a departmental research project in order to identify problem areas that required student advocacy and acted on our findings. We helped raise awareness and funding for a lecture by Jane Goodall, DBE in September of 2015.
Present and Future
Academic Affairs’ eyes are fixed on the horizon and as we move forward, we hope to grow closer to the student body that we represent and enjoy favorable, cooperative relations between other student governments and faculty. We constantly strive to gather the input of students in order to facilitate meaningful changes that will benefit student academics for years to come. We are currently undertaking projects to give students more control over their academic careers at Mizzou. To that end we are creating a list of introductory classes that are under-enrolled but fill general education requirements so students can broaden their horizons; we are working to make the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative’s Religious Observances Calendar easier for faculty to use when planning their academic schedules; and working to increase MyZou literacy among students.
The Budget Committee reviews the MSA budget as prepared by the vice president in preparation for its presentation to the Senate and student body. The secondary responsibility of the committee is the assessment of contingency and reserve requests submitted by the association.
Budget has undergone substantial changes in both purpose and function in recent years. Previously, the committee performed two primary functions: serve on Student Fee Review Committee (SFRC) as undergraduate representatives and act as a “check and balance” on the MSA budget. However, in order to best represent the intellectual diversity of the student population, the Senate voted to open the SFRC undergraduate seats to the student body at-large. Due to a drastic reduction in workload, Budget began an extensive training regimen to review the budget of past fiscal years and acquaint themselves with each of the 12 auxiliaries in preparation for the spring semester. During the Billingsley-Kooi administration, the committee saw increased communication and collaboration between the executive cabinet and the Budget committee. This relationship has been mutually beneficial for both parties. The executive cabinet receives helpful feedback while garnering support of the Budget committee in preparation for its formal presentation to Senate. The committee has observed exponential increases in its membership and hopes to continue this trend.
Present and Future
During the fall semester, the Budget Committee extensively reviewed the budget of the last fiscal year, as well as, meeting with all 12 auxiliaries. This retrospective review educates the committee members so that we may make informed decisions by providing the qualitative and quantitative aspects of our organization. The committee will make the preliminary assessment of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year during this legislative session. We collaborated with the new vice president in order to make any necessary changes before the budget progressed to the Senate floor.
As previously mentioned, it is within the committee’s purview to assess contingency and reserve requests put forth by the association. We use our knowledge of the MSA auxiliaries and their respective financial history to allocate money as needed. The committee strives to maintain a standard of fiscal responsibility with meaningful and measured spending for the benefit of the student body.
As of last year, the committee, created and revamped the Student Fee Breakdown. The committee distributed over 8,000 student fee pamphlets during Summer Welcome and with the help of the Design Center and the Director of Student Communications made a social media push to advocate the information to students.
Budget Committee intends to continue the new trend of visiting with each respective auxiliary in the fall semester in order to familiarize ourselves with the services these auxiliaries provide. These visits will provide the members with more context as they prepare to make financial decisions regarding the auxiliaries. The committee is seeking to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the association’s working parts. The committee intends to update and revise the Current student fee breakdown, and incorporate the Graduate Professional Council. Further, the Committee will be hosting an advocacy campaign this semester to inform students just exactly what their fees get spent on.
External Affairs Committee
The External Affairs Committee of MSA works to ensure that the student body’s voice is heard. This committee serves as the primary liaison between MSA and the local community. External Affairs regularly works with community leaders and officials to establish relationships with private and non-profit organizations to involve MU students in all parts of their surrounding community’s policies, initiatives, and current improvements. The committee follows and advocates for the needs of the student body. External Affairs strives to improve both campus and community life for all of the University of Missouri student body.
Social Justice Committee
The Social Justice Committee guides policies involving issues of interest to or affecting minority students. The committee monitors the universality and egalitarianism of Senate’s legislation, and attempts to act as the catalyst for change regarding student relations both in Senate itself and on campus. Educate. Celebrate. Welcome.
It is our belief that as a global community, the University of Missouri has the opportunity to inspire change by welcoming opposition and getting down to a human level. We understand that people view diversity in many different ways; our job is not to change anyone’s perspective, but rather, to promote listening. SJC is a way to unify campus through understanding and acceptance, because without that, there is no way we can truly be considered One Mizzou.
By creating liaisons between our committee and minority organizations on campus we strive to create a line of communication between the leaders of these organizations. Because of our communications we have only continued to become a stronger Mizzou. This has included keeping each other up to date on what is going on within each organization and by making an effort to represent them in our legislation.
Our annual Hate Wall creates a comfortable and safe environment for students to voice their thoughts about minority issues and stereotypes on campus. Hate Wall has been an event that has continued to grow and flourish. The Social Justice Committee has been part of creating the SWIPES program on campus as well. This program allows students the opportunity to go into Emporium or Time Out and buy items with their meal plans and give them to us to donate to Tiger Pantry.
Our organization has been responsible for and in many activities in the past year:
- We celebrated our 10th Annual Hatewall Event, the largest in our history and launched a “Stop the Hate” campaign that created awareness for the main event.
- We collected over 600 pounds for Tiger Pantry at our annual Swipes event semester to help students with higher socioeconomic needs.
- We spoke to the Governing Board of the Mizzou Alumni Association about what they can do to ensure that students from diverse backgrounds have a successful experience at Mizzou.
- We drafted legislation in MSA to add “gender expression and gender identity” to the UM System Non-Discrimination Policy.
- We created the MU Social Justice Network with students, faculty, and staff to foster an online forum to address social justice issues and solutions at Mizzou.
- We contacted the Mizzou Alumni Association to include the Asian American Association and Missouri International Student Council in last year’s Homecoming parade, something that hadn’t happen for years.
- We created a map to all of the Social Justice Centers on campus and a logo that would brand social justice at Mizzou.
- We worked on the social media to get students involved with the 3rd Annual Social Justice Symposium and created awareness for National Social Justice Day.
- We co-programmed with the South Asian Students Association to put on a benefit concert that created awareness for Human Trafficking.
Day by day we have been breaking down barriers that keep people in their comfort zones. Sometimes it is difficult to understand that fact that the steps that we are taking today can drastically change the future of student life at Mizzou. We are often seen as ambassadors who encourage others to experience communities that they wouldn’t normally identify with. As a committee we go to meetings from the Filipino American Students Association, Queer People of Color, the Asian American Association, and many more! Anyone can establish connections and network, but the success of our committee has been based off of the friendships that we have made with the people in the organizations we work with.
In the future we hope to grow the SWIPES event and Hate Wall event. We also want to continue to seek out ways to better connect social justice organization and Student Life with MSA. SJC hopes to consistently seek ways to better our liaison program and hopes to continue to work on the best ways to represent our constituents and create a more inclusive Mizzou.
MSA Senate Operations oversees all three branches of the Association. It is the internal review committee. The Committee interacts with the Student Court, Department of Student Communications, Department of Student Services, MSA’s auxiliaries and other members of the Association in leadership roles to ensure the successful fulfillment of their duties. The Operations Committee also holds the organizations and members within the Association accountable to the Missouri Students Association Bylaws and Constitution. As the Missouri Students Association adapts and changes to the constantly shifting fiscal, political, and social environment at the University, the Committee makes necessary changes to the Bylaws and Constitution.
The Committee has concentrated heavily on Bylaw changes in the past. Many previous Chairs have concentrated heavily on omnibus Bylaw reform, granting and removing powers of the Associations’ branches frequently. Many of the responsibilities Operations currently fulfills were a result of these past leaders. These changes have caused a lot of discrepancy within the Bylaws that has since been resolved.
One of the largest focuses of the Committee is the new Bylaws that the Missouri Students Association currently operates by. The author, Jacob Sloan, worked in close contact with Logan Borgsmiller to create a refined and easy to read set of governing rules that would be more efficient to operate under. The current Bylaws corrected many of the flawed reforms from previous Chairs, and have simplified administrative duties and responsibilities for the Association.
Former Committee Chair, Ben Bolin, finished up much of the necessary work from previous Chairs. The Committee also successfully formalized the confirmation process of the officials in the Association, increasing the respect between all branches of the Association.
The previous Committee Chair, Joshua Tennison, made it a priority to ensure that the Association’s governing documents were easily available and up-to-date. Under his leadership, the Committee addressed issues that arose from contradictions in the Bylaws and Constitution. The Committee also saw the implementation of the new Rules of the Senate. Towards the end of Joshua’s term, the Operations Committee began the process of reviewing the procedures for the elections and developed ideas to address the problems that were found.
Under the current Chair, Mathew Swan, the Operations Committee will continue working to overhaul the Association’s election process to ensure smooth and fair campaigns. The Committee will also focus on strengthening the Association’s ties to other organizations on campus through the Articles of Cooperation and resolving the issues that remain in the governing documents. Mathew also plans to work towards greater transparency within the entire Association.
Campus Affairs Committee
The mission of the Campus Affairs committee is broad: to work to better the daily lives of students. Campus Affairs strives to reach out to the concerns of students, research possible solutions to solve problems, and work with administrators and professional staff to work toward resolutions. In our eyes, no issue falls outside of the scope of our committee. Campus Affairs is always listening and always working.
Campus Affairs has a long history of benefiting students. In the past few years the committee has successfully advocated for installation of additional bike racks on campus, has created a to-go hot meal option in select dining halls, and initiated the first bike sharing program on campus. Each week, though, the committee continually looks into suggestions from the student body that lead to changes — changes that are not always large or visible. The committee has and continues to work on projects large and small.
Campus Affairs focuses on improving the experience of Mizzou students, through all aspects of student life. The two main ways we accomplish this goal is through legislation and committee projects. Recently, Campus Affairs has focused on addressing the stigma association with mental health, improving campus maps, and collecting public opinions among students. We are always actively searching for new ways to improve student life so that everyone can enjoy their Mizzou experience.
All committee meetings are open to the public! PLEASE, come voice your opinion at them. Committee meetings and Full Senate alternate every other week on Tuesday nights at (Committees at 7 p.m. and Full Senate at 6 p.m.). Email the MSA Speaker for more information.
You can view an updated list of Senators and their contact information.
Thinking About Becoming a Senator?
Anyone wishing to get involved with us must be in good standing with the University.
- Must attend one MSA Senate Committee meeting and one Full Senate.
- Email the Senate Speaker about being added to our OrgSync page.
NOTE: You do not have to be a senator to receive the senate emails, attend committees, start projects, or go to full senate. You have to be a senator to cast a vote. We are always welcoming new members and have even developed a mentorship program to make sure that all new members feel welcome in our chambers.
The MSA Freshmen Council will help you become one of the next leaders of Mizzou. First year students spend all of fall semester working together to address concerns within the freshman community, while working with current members of MSA to increase their knowledge of student government, leadership at Mizzou, and valuable networking skills. The council will give you hands on experience that will allow you to network with administrators, build your leadership skills, and help build a better Mizzou for all students.
If you are interested in joining the MSA Freshmen Council, fill out this application.
At-Large Senators are voting members of MSA Senate who are elected by current Senators. These seats are designed for individuals seeking to join MSA without any prior experience. To run for this position, you must fill out the application below, as well as attend one committee meeting before you run for your seat. At-Large Senators are required to go to Committee meetings, as well as Full Senate meetings every week.
If you are interested becoming an At-Large Senator, fill out this application.
Academic Senators are members who are elected by students at Mizzou. These Senators are elected for a one year term. These seats are designed for individuals who are seeking to continue their involvement in MSA. To run for this position, you must fill out the application below, and attend the BEC’s meetings pertaining to the election. Academic Senators are required to attend Committee meetings, as well as Full Senate meetings every week.