Assistant Online Editor
Last weekend, nine Bryan students traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to participate in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL). Bryan College went up against state academic powerhouses such as Rhodes, Vanderbilt University and Tennessee Tech to argue legal cases and pass hypothetical laws, managing to hold its own in the face of these larger schools.
TISL is a student led organization started for and by college students 42 years ago. Students from around the state gather in the state capitol for four days to hold mock government. They elect a governor, sit in the house and the senate and pass law. To build authenticity into the process, both lobbying and media tracks have been started in the last few years.
At the end of the weekend, Senior Anna Haffner was nominated to be a student representative to TSAC, the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation.
If she is also nominated by Governor Haslam, Haffner will represent private colleges across the state to TSAC, the organization that administers student financial aid in Tennessee. The rest of Bryan’s students attending TISL left the capitol with two of their bills made into law, and one of their AMC3, or Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge, teams advancing to the Semi-finals.
“It was the most realistic mock legislative session I ever had,” said senior Daniel Grayton.
Many politicians in the state got their start in TISL. The students that the Bryan delegation met could hold office one day themselves. After their first year, Bryan students were able to see what people that are deeply interested in politics were doing to prepare for the future.
Some schools have gone to TISL all 42 years. For others, like Bryan, it was their first time. Bryan was given a seat in both the house and the senate. Freshman Leanne Fairchild and senior Anna Haffner shared the duty of senator while Grayton and junior David Corwin represented Bryan in the house.
Together, they were able to see two of their bills pass into TISL law. The first was a bill dealing with human trafficking and the second repealed the inheritance tax in Tennessee.
The second track TISL offered was AMC3. Bryan sent two teams. Seniors Ryan Anderson and Alan Brown, and sophomore Samuel Gilbertson and senior Bethany Diamond started preparing four months in advance, writing up legal briefs and talking to legal advisors.
Anderson and Brown advanced to the semi-final round, but were eventually knocked out by another team.
Even though Bryan did not walk away with any awards, Grayton said, “We were really involved for our first time.”
The delegates spoke frequently during the sessions. And one AMC3 judge told the moot court contestants that Bryan had one of the more original briefs at the tournament, according to one judge after the tournament.