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Saturday April 1st

Hogan Medlin vetoes Student Congress' redistricting bill

Student Congress may override ruling

The passage of the redistricting bill that has been discussed and tweaked by Student Congress for three months was stalled Nov. 23 due to a veto — Student Body President Hogan Medlin’s first.

But the veto is likely to be overridden tonight at the full meeting of Student Congress, several members of the body said.

The bill, crafted by Speaker of Student Congress Deanna Santoro, would revise student election voting districts and create a new freshman representative of Student Congress.

But Medlin said in a letter to Santoro that he thinks parts of the bill would violate the Student Code.

He said that the proposed freshman seat would represent thousands of students, whereas according to Title II, Article I, Section 113 of the Code, every seat should represent a roughly equal number of students.

He also pointed out that the other seats in Student Congress represent a geographic community, but this seat would represent an entire class.

The bill passed 20-10 on Nov. 16, with one abstaining.

Medlin said he had several other disagreements with Santoro’s bill, all articulated in the letter.

He said he decided to veto the bill after numerous meetings with those concerned about it, including Residence Hall Association President Ryan Collins and Board of Elections Chairman Andrew Phillips.

He added that he hopes Student Congress, the RHA and the board will work together to craft a new bill since they are the three groups most invested in this issue.

“I hope that it is not seen as me vetoing to veto,” Medlin said.

Santoro said she wishes Medlin had voiced his concerns during the debate over the bill, adding that the RHA and the Board of Elections had attended committee meetings, and several changes were made based on their concerns.

“There are already several concerns that he has mentioned that have been discussed,” she said. “He just never took me up on the opportunity to discuss them.”

Santoro, who said Monday afternoon that she has not spoken to Medlin since the veto, said his argument was based on an inconsistency in the Student Code because there was not equal representation before the bill was passed either. Freshmen do not currently have equal representation because elections take place before they come to the University, she said.

“It is a little frustrating on our part when something is vetoed when the president didn’t actually participate in any of the conversation,” Santoro said.

Lee Storrow, a member of Student Congress, said he thinks the issue will be contentious, but that the veto will likely be overridden tonight.

“We’ll have a vigorous debate on Tuesday,” he said. “I’m likely to believe that the veto will be overturned.”

The body needs a vote of two-thirds approval to override the veto.

Medlin considered vetoing a bill earlier this year that raised the number of signatures required to run for student body president from 1,000 to 1,250 but instead didn’t sign it, allowing its passage.

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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