Constitutional convention delegates hammered out an agreement yesterday on one of the most pressing issues facing the effort to set up a new undergraduate student government -- how to divide the student body into representable groups. Delegates agreed to have students choose representatives by class year and will likely include an additional method as well. This decision will replace the present method of electing through students' home schools. Delegates left open the possibility for school representatives also to play a role. The convention, which only eleven representatives attended, was marked by debate on substantive issues, unlike past meetings which have often been consumed by disagreements over the methods to be used for discussing proposals. While there are over 30 delegates who are eligible to participate in the convention, the low turnout has not swayed participating delegates from being confident about the adoption of their final product. Many of the members said delegates who have not attended the conventions should not be able to vote on the final proposal since they took little role in its preparation. "Everything here is final," said Todd Fruchterman, a College junior and member of the Social Planning and Events Committee. After debating several methods of selection, including by residence and student group affiliation, the delegates ruled out selection by majors and the election of at-large representatives. Most agreed that there are too many majors and potential problems with double majors and undeclared majors to make such a system practical. They also decided that lack of accessibility of representatives would make an at-large system unfeasible. Fruchterman, the director of Spring Fling for SPEC, said he thought the delegates made progress toward a final constitution. "I feel that we accomplished a lot of things today," he said. "By the end of the week, we will have set the foundation," for the final proposal. David Anderman, a College senior and convention at-large delegate, also was pleased with the progress made at the convention. "For the first time, we finally got a mandate for at least a combination," of systems for determining representation, he said. The delegates must still decide what other system will be included in representation, whether it be by residences or student groups. Members said that in a residential system, students would more likely know their representatives and would have better access to them. However, such a system might not be responsive to the needs of minority students, who tend to favor certain dormitories over others. In such a system, minority students would be more likely to run against each other, rather than against the University at large. "You're diluting the minority representation and, in a sense, the whole," said Rosalyn Evans, a College senior and delegate who represents the Black Student League and the Caribbean American Students Association. Representation by student groups would also promote regular accessibility to representatives by their constituency and would group constituencies together by common interests. Although most members supported this goals, many said such a system would over-politicize student groups and might heighten tensions within the groups. It would also be very complicated to enact, as many students are involved in more than one group while some claim affiliation with none. Delegates must still work out these problems and those surrounding the selection of candidates after election, be it by majority, plurality or proportion. They must also agree on the method for selecting the executive board steering committee membership. Current proposals include direct election by students and parliamentary selection by elected representatives.Comments powered by Disqus
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