Senate defers voting on proposed bylaw changes

Senators elected to postpone a vote on proposed Cabinet and Senate bylaw changes until their March 7 Senate meeting.

The decision to defer discussion to a Senate committee was made after the two-hour meeting Feb. 28. The Senate Governance Committee will meet March 7 to discuss improvements and make recommendations about the proposal.

“There were clearly still a lot of questions and unease about voting one way or the other,” Dan Fergueson, director of college activities, said about the deferral decision.

ASLC president senior Colin Jones’ proposed bylaw changes would vastly restructure Senate, mainly by reducing the body from up to 90 members to less than 30 and by giving Greek and Residence Life formal representation. The proposal also suggests eliminating the secretary position, reducing Cabinet from nine members to eight, combining the club and student center directors’ jobs, and creating a vice president of community and sustainability affairs.

If senators pass the proposal, or parts of the proposal, students will have one day to decide if they will accept the bylaw changes. The proposal would appear on the online ballot March 8 alongside the candidates for next year’s ASLC president and vice president.

Discussion at the Feb. 28 Senate meeting focused on Jones’ Cabinet proposal. Secretary senior Sophie Larson said at the meeting that she supported the idea of dropping secretary as a Cabinet position. Student Center Director senior Evan Hilberg and Club Director sophomore Keevin Craig agreed with the benefits of combining their positions into one vice president of student interests.

But other Cabinet members, especially Vice President of Programming senior Nicole Bond, spoke fervently against the proposed changes because they reduce the number of campus leadership positions.

Vice President junior Katie Patterson also commented on some of the proposal’s flaws.

“The fact that we didn’t present it to Senate a month ago is a huge error on our part as a Cabinet,” she said. “If it doesn’t pass, we will likely take feedback on why it’s not accepted and probably cater to those needs and try again.”

Jones said it’s important to note that everyone whose position changes under the proposal is comfortable with the suggested amendments.

Senators and Cabinet members were also divided about the creation of a vice president of community and sustainability affairs.

Senators had a shorter discussion Feb. 28 about the proposed Senate changes but overwhelmingly agreed that Senate needs restructuring and that decreasing its size will boost its efficiency. But how to break clubs into groups to be represented by one senator each was an undecided issue.

Jones said the details of club groups can be worked out in the Senate Standing Rules if the proposal passes; however, Fergueson said he thinks it’s better to have the kinks worked out before the vote.

“When you write somewhat unclear bylaws, it leads to confusion when you try to interpret them later,” Fergueson said. “I think it’s probably better to have all your ducks in a row before putting it to a full vote.”

Senate Governance Committee Chair freshman Dana Hellie has been meeting with her committee about how to divide clubs and how to improve the proposal overall.

Jones said he believes the proposal, at least in part, will be passed and sent to the student body to vote on.
“I’m confident that we’ll be able to come to a consensus and come to a compromise that will move ASLC forward but maybe not in quite such a dramatic fashion,” he said.

Kelley Hungerford, editor-in-chief,

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.