A lack of deliberation for significant action
SA Senate sacrifices thoughtfulness for speed with amendment vote
Ignoring any notions of due diligence or reasonable debate, the Student Association Senate radically changed the way the organization is elected this week.
The group unanimously passed six amendments, including one that will eliminate the distinction between on- and off-campus representatives in the Senate - and all this in under an hour.
Eliminating the distinction between on- and off-campus senators means all senators could theoretically be on-campus students, removing any representation for off-campus students.
The situation isn't as unlikely as it may sound at first blush.
Ending the distinction means there is no longer a requirement for an equal number of on- and off-campus senators. Formerly, students could cast only six votes for senators and could only vote for on-campus senators if they lived on campus, and vice versa for off-campus students. The provision guaranteed equal representation for both student populations.
The new amendment eliminates this requirement and allows voters 12 votes on candidates not listed as either on- or off-campus.
On-campus students are already overrepresented on the SA e-board and - though they represent a minority of students overall - vote more than off-campus students. This amendment, then, could result in the skewing of representation toward on-campus students.
There are obvious issues with this amendment. But given that the amendment is already passed, public debate now will result in little substantive change. What should be interrogated now is the reprehensible manner in which the Senate conducts itself.
A student organization already infamously opaque is continuing its trend toward involving the student body in decisions as little as possible.
Without a requirement for public comments before rules are passed, as is legally required for legislative bodies across the country, students have no arena to voice concerns before a new amendment is passed. As things stand now, student concerns are left out of the deliberation process, which clearly lacks any rigor given the speed this body passes rules.
The speed with which the Senate passed the amendments doesn't mean the members were being efficient. Rapidity of action is affecting student representation - the Senate's actual job.
Passing six amendments in under an hour is evidence of an obvious absence of time for public input and a lack of thoughtful consideration on the part of the senators.
The student body deserves both an opportunity to comment on rules that will directly affect them, particularly their ability to vote, and a Senate that considers and discusses the votes they cast.
A fourth amendment that would dramatically increase the power SA has over clubs was tabled for another meeting and further discussion. The Senate must provide a time for public comment on so substantive a measure, lest the reckless behavior of the last meeting is repeated.
The Senate has demonstrated its penchant for ignoring student needs and concerns in favor of "efficiency" and self-preservation.
This student body needs and deserves a transparent and stable student government, one that takes time for debate from the public and amongst themselves.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More ubspectrum News Articles
Recent ubspectrum News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR UBSPECTRUM
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST UBSPECTRUM NEWS
- #UBTop10: The top-10 moments in Buffalo sports over break
- Around Town: Winter Brewfest, the Ice at Canalside and Lumagination
- Late UB Stampede supervisor remembered
- ‘Big time,’ big money, big problems
- UB offering chance at free semester of tuition to basketball fans
- Easy A(rts): UB's best introductory art courses
- Epic Super Bowl Halftime Shows
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Workers Say a Good Cup of Coffee Can Make Entire Workday...
- Fresh Fruit Delivers Fun and Nutrition
- Say No to the Knife: Reduce the Likeliness Of Surgery...
- Give Your Kitchen a New Look With a Lighting Update
- Garden Project Spreads Its Roots in Urban Areas
- The Need for Voluntary Insurance Is on the Rise
- How to Be More Productive During Your Business Flights
- It's Never too Late to Start Living Healthy
- Revive tus objetivos de verte saludable en 2015
- Debunking Common Tax-Filing Myths
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- WHOLE YOU CHALLENGES THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY AND PUBLIC TO HELP FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THOSE WITH ORAL AND VISION LIMITATIONS
- 10 Reasons Why Cancun is the Spring Break Mecca of the World
- What's Next in Learning Spaces?
- carpooling, Europe's No. 1 ridesharing app, debuts in U.S. to college market
- PwC US Launches CareerAdvisor