Caught in the Middle


Karina is the Senate Chair on her university’s Associated Students. As Senate Chair, she serves on both the Senate and on Associated Student’s Executive Cabinet. Karina supervises the Senate Committee Chairs and the general operations of the legislative branch. She supports Committee projects and initiatives and connects Chairs to the executive branch and university administration. In her seat on the Executive Cabinet, Karina works with the members of the judicial and executive branch: the Chief Justice, President, Vice President, and Commissioners, to guide and develop the mission of the organization as a whole.

Recently, proposed changes to student government’s bylaws have put the Executive Cabinet and the Senate at odds. Senate heartily disapproves of the stricter attendance policy encouraged by the Executive Cabinet. The Committee Chairs argue the policy is too paternalistic and shows little faith in the leadership of senators. They also point that the Executive Cabinet has made a habit of strongly encouraging the Senate to pass resolutions, and they are beginning to push back. The Executive Cabinet believes a stricter attendance policy will inspire the small but inevitable cohort of slacker Senators to fulfill their duties, strengthening the organization as a whole. At the last Senate meeting, the debate degenerated into passionate yelling. Karina thinks that both sides raise excellent but opposite points, and neither seems able to understand the opposing point of view.

Karina represents both branches, and now feels trapped in the middle. What would you do in Karina’s position? How would you balance representing the Committee Chairs and Senate with the Executive Branch? Should one role take priority? Is the Executive Cabinet over-stepping its bounds?

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