What is Senate?

Senate is another one of those bodies on campus that makes important decisions that affect students. But who are they, and what do they actually do?

Senate is very different from either the AMS Council or the Board of Governors. Essentially, it is the academic governing body, meaning that it makes decisions about degree requirements, new degrees and other similar matters. The UBC Vancouver campus and the UBC Okanagan campus each have their own independent senate.

Senate discusses and decides on just about everything academically related, from the potential fall reading break, to stopping UBC's animal research practices, to making policy changes to help students with mental health issues. They also consider withdrawal dates, the academic calendar, syllabi and academic policy (for example, policy 73, known as Academic Accommodation for Students With Disabilities).

More specifically, Senate staff “advise on procedural and regulatory matters; provide interpretations for University, faculty, and program requirements; draft academic regulations and policies; oversee the University's electoral and quasi-judicial appeals processes; and manage content for and production of the University's academic Calendars,” according to their website. That is also where a full list of their staff members can be found.

Senate's decisions interact with those made by the Board of Governors, which is responsible for the more business side of running a university. This interaction is mandated by the University Act in order to make sure both academic and business matters are considered properly before a decision is made. So while senate would consider the academic-side of what would be involved in establishing a new department or faculty, the Board of Governors would consider how it would be funded and where it would be put.

The student senators are elected every April during the AMS elections. This school year's senators are Daniel Lam, Samantha So (who is also this year's AMS VP Academic), Nick Dawson, Lina Castro and Kaidie Williams.

Senate meets approximately once a month, on Wednesdays sometime in the middle of the month. This month's Senate meeting is this Wednesday, October 19. Senate meetings start at 6 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.

The issues presented at Senate are important to know since they can affect both current and future students so much. The Ubyssey live tweets every meeting through the @UbysseyNews twitter.