Student leaders discussed the first concrete proposals to revamp student government -- one of which would fundamentally alter the system's structure -- at the fourth constitutional convention meeting last night. The more radical of the two proposals calls for the functions of the Student Activities Council and the Nominations and Elections Committee to be under the control of elected representatives. Currently, the two groups are autonomous. The proposal, sponsored by convention delegates Dave Anderman and Jon Wachs, would also establish a bicameral student government association, divided into a student senate and a general assembly, to replace the Undergraduate Assembly. Under the proposal, the NEC would be divided into separate elections and nominations commissions. The senate, composed of representatives from special interest and student groups, would monitor student elections. The popularly elected assembly would control student activities funding and nominations to standing and ad-hoc committees. In addition, the umbrella student government group would oversee the Social Planning and Events Committee and the currently autonomous Student Committee on Undergraduate Education. Wachs said during the sometimes acrimonious meeting that both branches of government would meet once every two weeks and carry out all legislative functions currently performed by the UA. The 10-page proposal would also establish an executive council, to be led by a popularly elected president and vice president, to decide "important questions." Several other representatives to the council, including a communications director to coordinate efforts between student government groups, would be selected by the student government association. Wachs said the system outlined in the proposal would solve the accountability and communication problems that currently plague student government. SAC Vice Chairperson Greg Shufro proposed another structure which he descibed as a "starting point which can stimulate discussion." Shufro's proposal, much less detailed than the other plan, calls for an assembly composed of popularly elected delegates and representatives of SAC-sponsored groups to replace the UA. The plan also calls for the formation of an executive committee, composed of members of the assembly, to oversee student government. Shufro's plan leaves SAC and the NEC intact and autonomous from the other branches of government. Both proposals call for candidates to be elected within their class, instead of the current system in which representatives are elected by school. One feature of the Wachs and Anderman proposal calls for elections for one-year terms to be held both in the fall and in the spring so that there is continuity within the government structure. At the meeting, delegates did not debate the tentative proposals but only asked for clarification. Shufro said after the meeting that the two proposals were intended to make delegates consider concrete changes in the current structure. Delegates discussed the functions and structural problems of the current student government at the first three constitutional conventions. "I think that we focused a lot on theory in the previous meetings and the proposals made clear some of the changes we are trying to implement," Shufro said. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said last night that although she thinks both proposals were flawed, they presented a springboard for future debate. Other delegates said the proposals were confusing on some points but said that they were optimistic that the group would be able to use the proposals to form a more effective student government.Comments powered by Disqus
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