Two referendums for next spring

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Students will have two choices to make at next spring’s student senate elections if two bills proposing referendums are passed at the next Senate meeting on Dec. 10.

The possible referendums include changing eligibility requirements for student to be able to serve on senate, while the other looks to “return judiciary powers to the student senate,” as the bill is titled.

Ben Streeter, information technology commission director, introduced the first bill proposing a referendum to allow part-time graduate students to run for and serve as senators.

“This just changes our constitution to reflect that if you are a half-time student, as a general rule per university policy, that you can be involved in Student Senate,” Streeter said during introduction of the bill.

The bill states that the current Student Body Constitution’s eligibility requirements allow for a student who has at least six credit hours to serve on Student Senate. Streeter said half-time graduate student status is only four hours.

The second bill proposing a referendum is intended to eliminate the Student Court and give judicial powers back to the Senate.

The bill calls for the Internal Affairs commission to take on the responsibilities that the court currently holds.

Vice President Patrick Martin said during the bill’s introduction that after Student Court was created in 2010, it never
fully functioned.

“(Student Court) was put in as a judiciary body that was meant to handle … a lot of what Internal Affairs (Commission) was initially envisioned to be doing,” Martin said. “Unfortunately that body never got utilized and in practice it ended up being more cumbersome and added a lot more steps to a process we were able to handle a lot more efficiently.”

Currently, the Student Court is the authority over any issues or disputes with the Student Body Constitution and oversees Student Senate elections.

The court also does not allow any senators to serve as a justice. The Chief Justice is a member of the Senate executive board but cannot hold any other executive board nor senate position.

If the referendum is passed, the senate will again have the judicial power the Student Court currently possesses.

Both these changes need to be voted on through a university-wide referendum because they are amendments to the Student Body Constitution. Any amendments to this constitution must be voted on by the students, not just Senate.

One bill was voted on and involved bylaw changes to the Public Relations Commissions. It was passed by voice vote.

Chief of Staff Tyrel Zich said the changes were mainly standard during discussion of the bill.

Two more bills were introduced to the Senate and one that was set to be introduced was sent back to committee.

One bill called for the creation of a committee to evaluate United Council’s response to the White Papers, a study and evaluation that Senate sent to the organization earlier in the semester.

The bill states that UC “is currently evaluating and finalizing their response” and that a committee should be formed to evaluate this response “in a timely matter after released.”

“This is the most productive dialogue we’ve had with UC in all the time I’ve been here in recent memory,” Martin said at the Monday meeting.

The other bill introduced deals with bylaw changes to UAC. All of the bills introduced at this meeting will be voted on by Senate at next  Monday’s meeting.

If both bills dealing with constitutional changes do pass, then students can expect to see at least two referendums on the ballot for next spring’s Student Senate elections.

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