The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday August 8th

On the record

The vote should be unanimous. Unfortunately without the procedures that Student Congress is voting to enact the public will never know.

Today's vote on attendance and voting record bills will strengthen the transparency and accountability of Congress if passed.

Under the current policy Student Congress doesn't usually keep any form of voting record or attendance sheets.

But two bills that will be voted on today might change that.

The decision should be easy. The presence of public voting records on every issue would drastically increase the accountability of every member of Student Congress to his or her respective districts.

Currently there is no way for UNC students to observe and examine the votes of their representatives without attending every Student Congress meeting. And then only someone properly trained in reading lips would be able to develop a proper voting record from the audible yea or nay votes.

Voting records will also counteract the possibility of conflicts of interest.

A recent controversial vote in Congress over subsequent appropriation funding to Carolina Students for Life demonstrated the lack of accountability for Congress members. When Carolina Students for Life sought funding for an event no official record was kept to show that Congresswoman Ashley Tyndall who is a member of the pro-life group withdrew her vote.

When citizens make decisions about who to elect to the U.S. or N.C. Congress voting and attendance records of candidates can be particularly influential in making an informed decision.

In fact transparency and accountability are fundamental components of any functioning democratic government.

With only 21 current members in Student Congress 11 UNC students have the ability to make decisions that affect a campus of 28000.

With such a small yet influential group representing the student body it is vital that the general UNC community has open access to the decisions of its representatives.

Today's vote will give Student Congress an opportunity to demonstrate accountability. We hope that our representatives will vote to end the veil of ambiguity and secrecy.


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