The Student Code outlines only one job for the student body secretary. Tuesday night, that job was stripped from the role.
After approving a budget of more than $135,000 to be dispersed among 53 student organizations with few objections, Student Congress passed a bill Tuesday that not only transferred the student body secretary’s duty of updating the Student Code to the clerk of Student Congress, but also repealed the $1,500 stipend allotted to the position.
Student Congress approved its annual budget. These are a few of the appropriations:
- Blue and White: $3,390
- Carolina Mock Trial: $2,740
- Carolina Quarterly: $2,197
- Carolina Scientific: $2,000
- Chabad: $6,725
- Executive Branch: $10,358
- Honor System: $18,006
- Newman Catholic Student Center: $8,450
- Patchwork: $2,823
- Planners’ Forum: $6,710
- Rival Magazine: $2,287
- S4SI: $1,544.40
- SDS: $2,845.50
- Student Congress: $966.56
- Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol: $4,063
Congress also passed a bill that addressed a messy topic in the past student election. Now some student government officers, including the student body secretary, must resign in order to run for any position, and will be disqualified if found to have violated this rule.
Ian Lee, student body secretary, incited the debate when he ran for student body president while continuing to hold his position.
Both bills incited a heated debate at Tuesday’s meeting, and the role of student body secretary was argued at length.
“People have been taking the job of secretary but not because they want to update the code, and that has been clear with the quality of the code updates,” said Alex Mills, speaker of Student Congress.
The bill provides a more effective way of ensuring the quality of the Student Code updates and making the updates more timely, Mills said.
“(Student body secretaries updating the Code) has resulted in low-quality Student Codes that reflect poorly on Student Congress,” said Deanna Santoro, former Congress speaker and current member.
“I’m sick and tired of having this fight,” Mills added.
Lee said the change is overdue.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for the secretary to be the person updating the code because there’s no real connections from day to day with the Student Code and Congress,” he said.
Zach De La Rosa, speaker pro tempore, said the bill offered a much needed change for an evolving position in student government.
“This position has evolved to something that it was not originally,” he said. “Certain skills that aren’t required today existed. The reason behind those set of regulations has expired.”
Although he believed clarification was necessary to avoid future conflict, Lee said he disagreed with the bill that calls for a resignation to run for office. The bill allows for student government officers outside the judicial branch to run for elected Congress positions.
“Every other system allows people with the most experience to come in,” he said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me as to why you would restrict people in experience from running for additional offices.
“Do we want to restrict a student’s ability to run for office because they chose to serve students in other ways in the meantime?”
But regardless of Lee’s or other members’ approval, the bill passed and will help avoid conflict in the upcoming election seasons, members of Student Congress said during debate.
Both bills were passed through the rules and judiciary committee March 1.
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