In their most productive meeting this semester, delegates trying to rework undergraduate government yesterday nailed down solid agreements on some of the most pressing problems facing the body. Constitutional convention delegates voted to choose representatives by year and through umbrella groups, rather than by residences. They also set a size for the new student government. "We made six concrete and tangible decisions today," said Duchess Harris, Undergraduate Assembly chairperson. "Although it's chaotic, people are starting to cooperate and listen to each other." No fewer than nineteen voting delegates turned out for the discussions, a jump from the ten to 12 who are usually in attendance. The meeting was marked by a desire on the part of delegates to press for votes on many of the issues that came to the floor. The meeting began with a request from Conaissance Chairperson Emily Nichols to remind delegates that all problems will not be solved with structural changes. "Don't make changes just to make changes," she requested. The most substantive issue resolved in the meeting was the system by which representatives would be elected to the future student government body. Delegates also overwhelmingly decided not to allow representation by residences. Although many argued that such representation would provide closer contact with students' elected officials, others held that it would concentrate power in the hands of strong, off-campus factions such as Greek organizations. Delegates also voted to establish between 44 and 49 seats on the new government, with six coming from each class year, 15 from the student umbrella organizations and the balance made up from at-large delegates who will be voted on by the body to fill steering committee seats. The top vote-getter from each school would then be designated as that school's representative. While most of the delegates were excited with the progress made at the meeting, some said they felt decisions were being made too quickly. "The group got caught up in the euphoria of making decisions and some of the decisions were made prematurely," said You-Lee Kim, an at-large delegate to the convention. "I don't think there was time taken to discuss the implications" of all the decisions, especially the number of representatives that would be seated on the new government. Kim agreed with Nichols that structural changes should not be the focus of the convention. "I think the key to having umbrella groups having a voice on student government is having more direct connections [to student government]," she said. "Not structural changes." While Kim was not sure that the decisions made yesterday were final, other members were excited that finally, binding decisions had been made. "These decisions are etched in stone," Harris said. The only exception would be if they conflicted with other facets of the new government yet to be voted on.Comments powered by Disqus
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