Bylaw Revision Vote Fails
Senator replacement language rejected three times
Student Senate bylaw revisions failed to pass the two-thirds requirement three times at a public meeting Tuesday after lengthy discussion.
The proposed changes would have vacant Senate seats filled by runner-ups from the last election only before fall or spring break, or if the number of senators should fall below the six as required by the Student Body Constitution. Current Senate bylaws stipulate that all vacancies be filled immediately.
“Because it is very important for us to be a fair organization, we’ve drafted a clear directive for when senators are to be replaced and not replaced,” said Zach Levin, student senator.
Senators Austin Campbell, Nina Showell, and Luca Provenzano voted nay in the final vote, leaving the final tally at 5 to 3. Senator Allie Theriault was not present at the meeting.
“I’m interested in having more discussions about [the revisions],” said Provenzano. “I thought that people raised founded criticisms of it, and I think that if we’re revising the bylaws we should create documents that won’t be suspended because of unforeseeable circumstances.”
The issue was unanimous when talked about before the meeting, Levin said.
These revisions are intended to smooth replacement procedure and make sure that incoming senators have time to set and accomplish goals, said Celia Hassan, student body president. Student senators have resigned each of the past four semesters.
“I think that once you reach a certain point you’re just paying someone to be there, because you’re at a point in the semester when they don’t have time to get anything going,” Hassan said.
Several students raised concerns that these bylaws may be used to postpone replacing senators for political reasons.
“I think that one of the things that we tried very carefully to do is to make it not about exclusion,” Levin said. “What’s driving this is Senate efficiency.”
Others felt that these arguments about efficiency were unfounded.
“I don’t see why a [replacement] couldn’t come in, vote on issues, and still have a say,” said Sam Weinrott, a runner-up in the last election. “It doesn’t seem like it’s all or nothing.”
Student Senate is composed of eight senators, a president, vice-president, and three treasurers.
Executives and senators are elected to one-year terms. Both executive positions and four Senate seats will be open in the coming November election. Election petitions are due in box 475 or 922 by 5 p.m. on November 9.