By Mike Sherr
On March 10, Student Government (SG) met for their weekly general body meeting. The board debated and eventually voted on a bill that would expand cabinet positions in SG. The debate took up most of the meeting and created a heated discussion between members.
The bill is just one of a long line of legislation that the group is planning to vote on to alter the structure of SG. In the fall of 2020, Executive President Suchir Govindarajan announced that SG will be creating a task force to explore ways to better represent students and to make the group more effective.
The task force eventually gave its findings to the General Body during the Feb. 10 meeting. The task force decided that SG should expand in certain areas and shrink in others. Senators and class councils would be combined under the new proposal to create academic senator, campus-life senator and class senator positions.
For the cabinet, seven vice president positions would be made or changed and two other positions would be changed. In addition to this, nineteen officer roles would be arranged to assist the cabinet and lessen the workload. These nineteen roles would be appointed and not voted on by students.
This bill focused squarely on the cabinet and officer positions. Some SG members were highly against passing it during the meeting. The debate process went how it normally does with a number of pro and con speakers, but it strayed from the norm when a motion was brought forward to have an open discussion about the bill.
Concerns ranged from community involvement in the decision to the appointment process. David McMillan, a senior philosophy major, voted against the bill and told The Signal that he “defended students’ rights to choose their representatives.”
McMillan was concerned that SG cabinet positions would become similar to a “spoil system” and proposed an amendment prior to the General Body meeting that would require unanimous consent from a selection committee for a student to be given an officer position.
It was obvious by some of the comments being made that some members did not fully understand the content of the bill. This urged Jan Egan, a freshman political science major and freshman class council Vice President of Public Relations, to call for the vote to be delayed.
“It seems that after hearing a lot of what has been said, I believe that the General Body is not educated enough to currently vote on this bill.”
Debate continued though and near the end of the meeting, while members were voting on the bill, Nicolette Simon, the Alternate Student Trustee, noticed that they did not have enough members present in the meeting to be able to vote on the bill, either because people had class or simply left.
SG had to lower the required quorum to continue the vote. The discussion about the bill ended up being over an hour and a half long and through all of the confusion, it is unclear if the bill actually passed or whether it will be brought up in the next week’s meeting.