Alexander Meseck has been hired as the Student Association Senate’s Parliamentarian. Although Meseck is a freshman, he started his college career with the 35 credits he earned in high school.
“I took some courses through Clinton (Community College), some courses through Paul Smith’s College and some AP courses,” Meseck said. “I was going to have 41, but I didn’t pay for two of my classes, so I only got 35.”
Though he is only in his second week with the Student Association, Meseck said he likes the position.
“The parliamentarian’s role is to moderate the discussions and to assist the speaker of the Senate and the vice president,” Meseck said.
One way he does that is by keeping track of the number of yields each member has in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, the rules of etiquette that the SA Senate – and many governmental bodies – use to conduct their business.
Yields, which are counts of permission for a Senate member to speak, are limited to three.
“One, you don’t want it to go on for hours, and sit here until 5 a.m.,” Meseck said. “The second is that you want everyone to have a chance to speak.”
Meseck said each Senate member has a total of three yields, and each yield lasts three minutes. When each person ends their time on the floor, they yield back to the chair – the speaker of the senate, Veronica Marchello.
Meseck said he gained experience in Robert’s Rules while in Model United Nations in high school.
Parliamentarians, as moderators of discussion, are not allowed to speak during meetings.
“It kind of has taught me to not say anything,” Meseck said. “That’s one of the biggest challenges of this position for me — I’m a very active person, and I like to put my opinion out there.”
Meseck said neither Marchello nor he “get a vote.”
“We have a long and humorous tradition – I jokingly call it ‘The Curse of the Parliamentarian,’ where they constantly quit a relatively high-paying job for campus … so they can run for Senate,” SA President Kevin Clayton said.
While it is not a “tradition,” Clayton said it tends to happen year after year.
During his interview for the position of parliamentarian, Meseck was asked if he would consider running for an elected position.
“It’s better to learn about the senate more and see the different positions that are possible before I actually make any moves toward something like that, but it’s definitely in my vision for the future,” he said.
Marchello said previous experience with Robert’s Rules helped him stand out from the pack in an applicant pool of two.
She said while the act of leaving the position for a Senate position is something that has happened historically, she is not worried about that, as the time to be on the ballot for the upcoming special election has already passed.
Marchello also said that while Meseck is new to his position, his potential for growth helped him stand out.
“He’s doing well so far,” Marchello said. “We run our meetings in kind of a specific way, so for someone who has not been to a lot of meetings, it’s hard to pick up, but he’s doing well.”
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