SEGOVIA – In the aftermath of the controversial “Could I Get Back To You” article regarding Student Government, the Debate Club organized a joint panel with Student Government and The Stork. Last Tuesday, debate coordinator Oussama Chninak hosted SG representatives Matteo de Palma and Virginia Demichelis along with Stork student government correspondent Adam Rose to discuss Student Government’s performance and their plans for the following semester.
The event attracted a mere 15 people – but members ready with questions accounted for the small attendance.
Chninak began the discussion with a question of clarification for de Palma and Demichelis, asking each to explain their roles within Student Government. De Palma, the Academic Officer for SG, expanded on his role in working with IE University in providing more academic opportunities inside and outside the classroom. He mentioned many current initiatives, including an academic conference in April, a student podcast, and the possible opening of an Italian course.
De Palma also mentioned the opening of a contract law workshop, focusing on rental contracts many IE Segovia students know well. When pressed to expand on this topic, he delved into the monopoly in the Segovia housing market jacking up prices (a claim disproved through economic data here).
De Palma then delved into another initiative – reforming the attendance and participation system. His proposal would standardize the participation system within degrees. Additionally, the proposal would require teachers to write off the first 2 or 4 absences when considering for participation, which some consider would essentially eliminate the incentive for students to attend their full class schedule.
The floor passed to Demichelis who explained her role as Community Development Officer in Student Government. She leads the planning and execution of events across Madrid and Segovia, from freshers week to the upcoming Spring Ball. She further described Student Government’s plan of outsourcing event planning to clubs and organizations within IE, including the involvement of BeSegovia and BeMadrid to the IE Excursions club. She especially emphasized Student Government’s work to get trips and events accessible to both campuses.
The topic of events eventually led to a discussion of this administration’s most notable promise – the IE Student Bar, designated as MM-37 in Madrid and El Saxo in Segovia. When questioned about the legitimacy of El Saxo and MM-37 serving as a “student bar” rather than just a bar with a normal student discount, the SG team pushed back, citing IE University’s strict no alcohol on campus policy.
One IE student posed the example of International Day last year, where IE University served beer on campus. The SG team responded that IE had tightened their policies to maintain an academic culture on campus.
The event concluded with a few questions from the audience, covering further collaboration between The Stork and Student Government, along with questions about membership within Student Government.
This panel marks a new era in communication between Student Government and The Stork. Chninak cited that The Stork is the sole media channel that students can look to for accountability of student government. Therefore, he debated, student government has the duty to remain transparent and communicative to reporters of the student newspaper. Rose expressed that further communication would be desirable and conducive to further progress.
From the event, it seemed Student Government, despite low name recognition and approval, has worked hard to reach its 15 goals. However, a sense of inefficiency within the IE administration and Student Government underlaid today’s conversation. When discussing the process for completing an initiative, de Palma described the “competing interests” of different program heads, faculty, and student government members.
Overall, while the student body may perceive the Student Government as generally ineffective, their work should not be discounted. They have many proposals in the works and delivered, however alternatively, on the student bar initiative.
Corrections: Previous versions did not include hyperlink references.
Matteo de Palma and Virginia Demichelis’s name misspellings have been corrected.
MM-37 was previously stated as MM-17.