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The Daily Tar Heel

Congress Plans to Fill Vacant Seats

Student Congress members condemned the terrorist attacks and discussed filling vacant seats Tuesday night.

Congress began their meeting by passing a resolution condemning the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

The resolution states that Congress condemns "in the strongest possible terms" the terrorists who planned and carried out the attacks and "commits to encourage the students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to support the victims, survivors, rescue workers and others in their efforts in New York and Washington."

Congress also passed a resolution condemning racially motivated bigotry and violence in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Rep. Gregory Wahl, Dist. 1, said Congress passed the resolutions as a statement of their support for the victims of the attack.

"The purpose of resolutions for Student Congress is to show unity behind a cause," Wahl said.

In addition, Student Body President Justin Young presented Congress with his administration's October Report, a detailed description of projects his administration is presently working on or plans to address this semester.

Young discussed the executive branch's involvement with a number of student organizations and causes, including the Carolina Lobby Corps, a group of students trained to lobby their state and local representatives and help make the student voice heard among lawmakers.

In addition to presenting the report, Young issued an executive order for a special congressional election to fill what has become an overwhelming number of vacant seats in Congress.

The special election will be held Nov. 7, the same day as the Homecoming King and Queen election.

Young said that he and Emily Margolis, Board of Elections chairwoman, decided to schedule the congressional and Homecoming elections on the same day in an effort to increase voter turnout.

Candidates must notify the elections board of their intentions to run for a seat no later than two weeks before the Nov. 7 election.

Young said he is not overly optimistic about the prospects of attracting candidates to fill the vacancies in Congress.

"We're out and about, spreading the word," he said. "But it's tough to get people to run."

In addition, Congress confirmed that it will have more than enough money to operate and fund student groups for the 2001-02 academic year.

Finance Committee Chair Tony Larson said Congress has more than $30,000 that can be distributed to student organizations this semester and about the same for the spring semester.

"There is no budget crunch," said Speaker Mark Townsend.

Congress also approved the 10 nominees to the Freshman Focus Council. "The council is a subset of the executive branch that acts as the liaison between the freshman class and student government," said Kim Sexton, the group's advisor.

The council plans to address a number of issues important to freshmen, including academic advising, the C-TOPS program, cultural diversity on campus and transportation concerns of South Campus residents.

The University Editor can be reached at

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