The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 1st

Congress Votes to Censure, Supervise CAA

After nearly an hour of debate, the bill -- which will amend the CAA Constitution to place the group under the auspices of Congress -- passed by a 17-1 vote, with only senior Chris McClure dissenting.

Congress also voted by a narrow margin of 10-9 to censure the CAA and urge the next session of Congress to appoint a committee to investigate the past two CAA administrations.

"We strongly disapprove of the style of leadership and governance displayed by this administration of the Carolina Athletic Association," states the resolution written by Rep. Tony Larson.

Several amendments regarding personnel issues and ticket distribution were made to the original codification bill, authored by Sarah Marks, Congress' Rules and Judiciary Committee chairwoman.

Marks presented the bill to her committee March 20 in response to recent concerns brought forth by former Board of Elections Vice Chairman Fred Hill.

Hill said he could procure evidence that CAA President Tee Pruitt controlled a "slush fund" of men's basketball tickets and that the ticket distributions were rigged for the past two years.

Before the full Congress, more than five amendments were made to the bill to clarify Congress' new role in CAA Cabinet appointments and ticket distribution policies. "The CAA still functions as an independent body -- the bill includes no action for Student Congress to take over the CAA," Marks said.

The bill mandates that the choosing of numbers for ticket distributions be done in public and that bracelet number ranges be published.

It also mandates that the CAA maintain a public record of all students who receive tickets not given through the ticket distribution process approved by Congress.

In short, the CAA must account for every ticket given to CAA Cabinet members, Carolina Fever members or any other student officials or organizations.

Because some feared that Congress members who worked on the campaign for former CAA president candidate Michael Songer would pass the bill to punish CAA President-elect Reid Chaney, a rider was added to exempt Chaney from the bill's appointment restrictions.

As of April 2002, future CAA presidents will be required to seek Congress' approval of their appointments for vice president, secretary and treasurer.

Speaker of Congress Alexandra Bell threw her support behind the bill, saying it would only safeguard the CAA from allegations and accusations.

"There is nothing in here that hurts the CAA," she said. "That's why I find it kind of sketchy that some people would stand against it."

She also attempted to allay fears that the bill was unconstitutional in that it overstepped Congress' boundaries when dealing with student groups.

She said the necessary and proper clause of the Student Code gives Congress power to act on behalf of the best interest of students. She cited Chapman v. Kleinschmidt, a case that went to the Student Supreme Court last year, as proof that Congress' interpretation of the Student Code is protected.

As stated in the CAA Constitution, every UNC student is a member of the CAA and contributes funding, which is controlled by Congress.

McClure expressed concern that the bill would pave the way for Congress to assume control over other student groups. "I think the annexation of an officially recognized student group such as the CAA sets a dangerous precedent," he said.

"It's like every other organization on campus -- it has some problems, but if Student Congress decides to start taking over groups that had problems it would be taking over every group on campus."

But Bell said CAA can't be compared to other groups on campus.

"I cannot stress enough that this is not your regular, typical group," she said.

"(This bill) only makes the CAA more accountable to the student body."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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