Apparently putting aside personal agendas, student leaders at the second constitutional convention yesterday displayed a unity unprecedented since talk of restructuring student government began last year. While the delegates did not come up with specific proposals, they formulated guiding principles for the restructuring process. The tone of yesterday's meeting was a sharp contrast from the bickering over semantics which characterized the first convention meeting last month. Most of the delegates called yesterday's session effective, adding that the meeting gave them confidence that a revamped government structure will evolve from the semester-long series of conventions. During the meeting, the 33 delegates divided into smaller groups to brainstorm about the functions and structure of student government. All the groups said student government suffers from a lack of accountability and direct representation, and pulls little weight in administrative decisions. Thomas Goldstein, director of the American Association of University Students, replaced UA Chairperson Duchess Harris as moderator. Goldstein frequently intervened in the discussions, urging groups to remain focused on general debate over government structure and functions. Most of the four groups had similar suggestions, and each underlined the need for a more unified student government. They stressed that the new government must act as a "rallying voice" for students, mobilizing the campus and exerting power over administrative decisions. Delegates also suggested that an umbrella group be created to oversee all governmental groups and to alter the voting structure so that students could vote with a phone system similar to PARIS. In addition, the groups recommended increasing student government representatives' accountability by changing the voting blocks. They proposed that candidates represent either location, major or class. The delegates said that the meeting was effective because it gave a concrete framework for further discussions. College senior Jon Wachs, a former UA member and current convention delegate, said that he is preparing a specific model for an alternate structure and that yesterday's meeting gave him insight into what student leaders want. "We laid a conceptual groundwork for substantial proposals that have been written," Wachs said. "Today's meeting achieved a broad-based consensus of what student government should be The third convention meeting will be held later this month. UA chairperson Duchess Harris said last night she expects many concrete proposals to be debated at the meeting.Comments powered by Disqus
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