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Members of the Nominations and Elections Committee said yesterday they are disturbed that the current undergraduate government restructuring is producing a system with serious conflicts of interest. According to NEC leaders, several of the new proposals would take nomination authority away from the independent NEC and into the hands of UA leaders who would often be faced with nominating other UA members. "If the UA takes over the nominations and elections process then it would be unfair for them to also apply for these positions," NEC vice-chairperson Melanie Hirschfelder said. Hirschfelder said that now, many of the most qualified applicants to the committees are UA members since many have had extensive experience with prominent administrators, faculty and University Trustees. They are also very familiar with many of the issues the committees now address. Under the current system, the NEC is responsible for nominating students to approximately forty University standing committees and also to temporary committees, such as the School of Arts and Sciences Dean Search Committee and the Campus Center Committee. They also oversee the annual UA elections. NEC leaders said they avoid conflicts of interest by prohibiting their members from applying to these committees. But UA chairperson Duchess Harris said that she was confident that a new student government could take over nominations without facing conflicts. "Obviously there would be a mechanism implemented that the members who are appointed to University standing committees cannot sit on the [selection] committee also," she said. "That's a given." And UA vice-chairperson Mike Feinberg, the UA's liaison to the NEC, agreed. "You definitely would have to build some kind of safeguard into the system," he said last night. "You can't have people voting on themselves." He also said he was unsure that the current system is any less unbiased than the ones which are being proposed. "The NEC is not an island," the College senior said. "They're doing about as fair a job as possible, but they're faced with the same problems." Feinberg also said that, although there could be problems with the proposed system, it would provide many advantages to the new student government. "I'm a proponent of the whole idea of centralizing a lot of the powers of student government," he said. "A theme [at the constitutional convention] has been, 'Let's make it bigger, let's give it broader powers.' " Constitutional convention delegate and UA representative You-Lee Kim suggested that UA standing committees could be formed which would recommend candidates to the entire UA body. These candidates would then be either rejected or accepted by a UA vote. While NEC members were unsure whether UA representatives would be willing to devote the time to the duties, Feinberg said he thought there would be enough representatives to do the job. "Not all 33 reps are busy all the time every week," Feinberg said. "A good eight to ten would be able to do the nomination work." But constitutional convention delegate and NEC member Sue Moss said that the job is difficult, adding "nomination for 56 committees is not something you can learn overnight." "[UA members] cannot imagine the amount of work that is involved in the nomination process," she said. "It boggles the mind."

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