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Thursday September 29th

Student Congress committees review bill for split government

<p>The Student Congress Rules and Judiciary Committee discussed the proposal to separate the undergraduate and graduate student government on Tuesday.</p>
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The Student Congress Rules and Judiciary Committee discussed the proposal to separate the undergraduate and graduate student government on Tuesday.

Student Congress revealed more details of the potential split between undergraduate and graduate student governments at its Tuesday night committee meetings.

Rules and Judiciary

Student Congress Speaker Cole Simons and Student Body Treasurer Harry Edwards brought a bill before the committee that would reorganize student government after the governments split up.

“Most of you all know that Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (Winston) Crisp issued a memo at the beginning of January stating his opinion on whether student government should split or not,” Simons said. “What happened with that is that there were six points that he issued and he said we should work from the 'Two for Two' split to design a system that would work for everyone.”

Simons said the proposed bill would reorganize student government into two separate branches — one for undergraduates and one for graduates. Each branch would have a president, a cabinet and a senate. Both of those branches would operate under a new joint committee comprised of students from both legislative bodies.

“The constitution that’s proposed is actually supposed to be a supreme constitution, on top of separate constitutions for Student Congress and Graduate and Professional Student Federation,” he said.

Edwards said the proposed supreme constitution wouldn’t replace the existing constitutions, but would lay out specifics for the proposed joint council. He said one measure that’s been talked about already is requiring a two-thirds vote in the joint committee, so that neither group can overpower the other.

“It’s pretty much a conglomeration of 'Two for Two' and 'Better Together' and the current constitution,” he said. “We tried to merge the best parts of all three. It’s not completely foreign. There are large parts from the old constitution that were copy and pasted. If there are things that need to be changed, then they can be.”

Simons said the proposed government would contain a student body president, in addition to the two existing presidents in the system. He said the new position could technically be held by one of the branch presidents, but that they would need to receive signatures of support from both sets of students.

Oversight and Advocacy

The Oversight and Advocacy Committee reviewed the results of a recent poll of students conducted by student government. Committee Chairperson Sarah Hudak began the meeting by addressing the student feedback on Counseling and Psychological Services.

“So many people know about CAPS, but don’t know where it is,” she said.

Hudak said surveyed students had a lot of complaints related to CAPS, calling for expansion and reform.

“If you even just Google 'CAPS UNC,' there are a ton of negative reviews,” she said. “I do think it’s very difficult to work in that department, so we need to be sensitive to that, but it’s staggering to hear the number of bad experiences.”

Committee member Brian Vercauteren said the current services offered by CAPS are insufficient.

“People thought that having extended sessions would help a lot more,” he said. “If there was someone with a chronic mental illness, it’ll take a lot more than eight sessions to help them.”

Vercauteren said the surveys he reviewed showed a need for reform in mental health education on campus.

“Mental health is being talked about, but it’s not enough of a priority,” he said.

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