PC professor Dr. Ben Bailey’s political science class wins Best Small Delegation at the S.C. Student Legislature

PC professor Dr. Ben Bailey’s political science class wins Best Small Delegation at the S.C. Student Legislature

by Kathryn Dover

Presbyterian College political science professor Dr. Ben Bailey’s South Carolina Student Legislature class participated in a legislative simulation in Columbia last month, earning distinction as Best Small Delegation.

The simulation is held every semester to teach students across the state how to act as state legislators. For the simulation, students craft a bill or piece of legislation that changes or adds to the S.C. Code of Laws.

“They actually get into the code and look for specific laws, regulations, and policies to change or add to,” Bailey said. “In the past, some of these simulation bills have been used as models for the real state legislature when putting together actual bills.”

At the simulation, participants debate bills, craft policies, and engage in negotiation. Bailey’s South Carolina Student Legislature class helps prepare students for this simulation.

“We workshop their bills which includes first identifying the public problem in the state they want to address,” he said. “Then they locate an appropriate place in the code of laws to place their new legislation or language. Next, they write the actual bill and finally debate and defend their bills in front of their fellow students. We also practice proper parliamentary procedure and how to appropriately challenge other delegates’ bills they disagree with.”

Having completed this in-class preparation, Bailey’s delegation attended the simulation on Oct. 19-21 in Columbia. Senior Sarah Loftis served as the delegation chair of PC’s student delegation, with students Ralph Guerra and Hallie Ridings serving as the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively. Students Avery Long, Kennedy Perry, Cole Taylor, and Jeremiah Jackson also served in the delegation.

“PC has always been a very small delegation compared to other large schools within our state, and we set a record for us by taking seven delegates to session this fall,” Loftis said. “I was very impressed by the PC delegates and their excitement and participation within the organization. Two of our delegates, Ralph Guerra and Hallie Ridings, were elected to serve on the executive board, increasing PC’s representation in the organization.”

At the simulation, students break into committees to discuss or change bills. Then, they host a plenary session where they debate each other’s bills on the floor of the state house and senate.

“It very much mimics the workings of South Carolina’s state government,” Bailey said.

This year, PC’s student delegation won “Best Small Delegation,” an award for a delegation from a small school like PC that demonstrates commitment to the organization and real skill and aptitude in the legislative process.

“The delegation must also be successful at building relationships with other delegations from colleges and universities across the state,” Bailey said.

Loftis tributes the delegation’s success to Bailey and hopes that it will set a precedent for future PC delegations.

“As the PC Delegation Chair for the South Carolina Student Legislature, I was so proud of our group for winning the Best Small Delegation Award at the session this Fall,” Loftis said. “We couldn’t have been successful without our faculty advisor, Dr. Bailey, and all the support that he pours into us with writing our bills. I am excited for the future of the organization and to see PC take home many more awards!”