The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday June 29th

Hooking them early

New position of parliamentarian good move for Student Congress, expert in Student Code needed

The recent move by Student Congress to reinstate the position of parliamentarian may prove the perfect prescription for providing clarity to the Student Code.

But the effectiveness of the position could be improved through a more formal selection process and longer-term appointments.

According to Joe Levin-Manning, speaker of Student Congress, the position largely came about as the result of freshmen interest in being involved.

While a freshman will likely not be the biggest expert on the Student Code, a position that encourages students to stick with Congress is a good idea.

Freshmen normally do not have a chance to serve on Congress until the spring, when they can run for election.

Levin-Manning said current parliamentarian — Kevin Kimball — was selected on the informal criteria of familiarity with the Code, as well as knowledge of parliamentary procedure.

He also stressed that being parliamentarian was a great way for Kimball as a freshman to become acclimated to the environment of Congress.

There are very few representatives that return to Congress. Levin-Manning was the only undergraduate to return this year. So it makes sense to cultivate interest in Congress through the parliamentarian position.

Students should view the position as long-term rather than as a stepping-stone to becoming an elected representative.

Levin-Manning said he feels that the decision to remain parliamentarian should be up to the student.

“I think it really depends on the person and what their long-term goals are,” he said.

But continuity would give the position greater weight — avoiding the perennial state of flux that the rest of Congress undergoes.

A bill is currently awaiting Student Body President Jasmin Jones’ signature that would make it a requirement to fill the parliamentarian position in Congress.

What is lacking, though, is a more formal process of selection. Congress should make efforts to change that.

Having a parliamentarian could prove an asset, facilitating better interpretation of the code, a task that it has been found difficult in the past.

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