In his last week as student body president, Hogan Medlin has shaken things up.
After Student Congress passed a bill March 15 clarifying certain members of student government’s executive branch cannot run for another elected position without resigning, Medlin vetoed the bill.
Congress members responded by saying the body would not seek to override the veto — but did not rule out the possibility of reintroducing the bill in the fall.
In an explanation sent Thursday to Speaker Alex Mills, Medlin said he opposed limiting student leaders’ options.
“I only see this bill limiting future student leaders from rising to their potential while at Carolina, which is not what we were elected to do,” Medlin said in the notice.
But members of Congress said the veto only serves to add confusion to the Student Code, which first came under scrutiny during the contentious student body president election in which candidate Ian Lee campaigned without resigning as student body secretary.
Deanna Santoro, former speaker of Congress and current member who brought the case to the Board of Elections, said Medlin’s veto only serves to make Student Congress’ job harder.
“How the Code was written when the lawsuit happened is still how the Code is written despite his veto,” she said. “It still says exactly what it says.”
Santoro said Medlin did not approach Congress to debate the issue. Instead, she said he chose to wait until the last minute, after Congress’ 92nd session had its final meeting.
“He didn’t participate in any of our conversations,” she said.
“It’s kind of making it impossible for Congress to even make a vote.”
Medlin did not respond to requests for comment.
Mills said members are in no rush to reverse the veto, since the section of the Student Code in question is not time-sensitive and applies primarily to spring elections.
But Mills said he would call for a special session only if a majority of Congress members signed a written petition.
“I haven’t received a petition from anybody, and unless half the Congress sends something by Tuesday, it’s not going to happen,” he said.
Evan Ross, chairman of the rules and judiciary committee of Congress, said Medlin’s argument seemed conflicting.
“(Medlin) said the bill doesn’t reflect what real government is like, but at the same time he’s essentially allowing the provision to stand that you have to step down,” he said.
The prospects for the bill’s reintroduction hinge on the general sentiment of Congress members, Ross said.
Mary Cooper, student body president-elect, who takes office Tuesday, did not rule out the possibility she might veto a reintroduced bill.
Cooper said she doesn’t think the veto will change the ambitions of her two sophomore executive branch appointees, Zealan Hoover and Adam Jutha, who will serve as student body vice president and student body secretary, respectively.
“If either of them had really wanted to run, whether it was in the Code or not, they probably would not have run for the positions still,” she said.
Cooper said she was not aware Medlin would veto the bill.
Jutha said he agrees with Medlin’s decision to veto.
“It’s a step forward for Student Congress to clarify conflicting statements in the Code, but I do not consider this bill to be a proper correction,” he said.
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