Student Congress passed a bill intended to more clearly define its relationship with the Carolina Union Board of Directors Tuesday. It also guarentees the board is accountable to the student code.
“It ensures accountability from the Student Union while maintaining a partnership through Student Congress,” said Speaker of the 95th Student Congress Connor Brady. Brady also sits on the Union’s Board of Directors.
Brady said the board has a set of bylaws that have been updated multiple times without the authority of Student Congress. He said representatives need to step in to ensure they are well informed on those decisions in the future.
Also, Brady said because some student fees go to the Union, it is important that Congress is involved in the changing of any Union bylaws.
Carly Matthews , president of the Student Union, said there needs to be better communication between all University-backed organizations and the Union.
“All of them need to have better communication,” said Matthews. “Not just with the Union but in general.”
Matthews agrees with the compromise the Union and Student Congress have come to, but believes there are other ways to increase communication between the two bodies.
“If this is the start for bigger goals, then I’m all for it,” she said.
Brady said if there is not an open flow of communication and accountability between the Union and Student Congress, students may feel like they are writing a blank check.
John Guzek, speaker pro tempore of Student Congress and columnist at the Daily Tar Heel, said more clearly the bill is a step towards further accountability from the Union because it makes sure they consider students in decisions they make.
“It only makes sense that our student code simply says what the relationship already is between the Student Union and the Student Congress,” he said.
Guzek said this decision makes it clear that the Board of Directors is an accountable organization to students, much like the Board of Elections is.
Brady said it’s important to note that this bill simply puts the Union and Student Congress more on the same page. Congress does not intend to micromanage the Union, they just want to be more informed of its decisions.
Brady said Student Body President Christy Lambden has said he would sign the bill.
Brady said this bill has been a priority for members of this Congress, and the bill will be updated again next year, pending that the Union brings forward new bylaws.
“I think that it’s a first step in trying to remind Congress and the Board of directors that there’s a relationship there,” said Guzek.