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Sunday, March 03, 2024
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Proposed changes to SA council coordinator positions fail in senate vote

Senators were concerned that the change would make it easier for the SA president to ‘stack the senate’

<p>Members of the voting senate voiced concerns that the proposed change would make it easier for the SA president to “stack the senate.”&nbsp;</p>

Members of the voting senate voiced concerns that the proposed change would make it easier for the SA president to “stack the senate.” 

The Student Association (SA) rejected a 30-page proposal that would’ve amended the SA’s by-laws. The proposal would’ve changed the appointing process for council coordinator positions, allowing the SA president to hire them directly. 

Council coordinators are senators who represent SA-recognized clubs during votes. To ensure that these seats are held by unbiased representatives, the positions are appointed by a senate vote.

Members of the voting senate voiced concerns that the proposed change would make it easier for the SA president to “stack the senate,” a major reason for the proposal’s failure. The proposal would have increased the number of “hired seats” (positions appointed directly by the SA president) on the senate from four to 11 positions. A majority vote of two-thirds, which is used for all major decisions in the senate, requires 15 of the current 23 senators to agree.

Matthew Dowd, SA Hobby Council coordinator, explained that the change was introduced as a way to give the council coordinators more tools. Dowd is also a Spectrum staff writer. 

“Council coordinators are paid by SA but not governed by them,” Dowd said. “If they became hired and had their constitutions rescinded, SA could control them a lot more. But they could get new tools from SA and more solidified responsibilities, so it would be easier to hold them accountable.”

Dowd explained further that the club council — a meeting of club presidents — has not reached quorum in a while, meaning not enough members have been present to hold an election of council coordinator positions. 

To solve this issue, the existing by-laws allow the president to appoint any vacant council coordinator positions without a vote after the first month of classes. The amendment would make this process more permanent, rather than a backup plan. 

This proposed amendment would also impact senate elections. If not enough people ran for election, the empty seats would be filled by last year’s senators. 

Some senators suggested several amendments to the proposal, including one that would remove the council coordinators’ senate seats altogether. 

The proposal is being amended by the SA e-board before it will be brought up for vote again. 

The Student Association didn’t respond to requests for comment or clarification. 

The news desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com 

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