“I think the best thing about the plan that has been put forward, that the student body will be able to vote on, is that it’s been agreed on by a student government and by the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, two parties that have had an enormous amount of disagreement over the last couple of years on this issue,” he said.
“But have finally, after many, many hours of negotiations, managed to reach a point where we all agreed on something we are OK with.”
Russell said that with Two for Two, the older proposal for split governance, GPSF had to put it on the ballot themselves, which required a two-thirds vote threshold to pass. He said he’s confident the new proposal will pass because the threshold is 50 percent plus one.
Speaker of Student Congress Cole Simons said this was a deal worked and agreed upon by Student Congress members, executive branch members and GPSF members. He is confident the referendum is going to be a good way to move forward.
“I definitely think it will pass,” he said. “We have buy in from all portions of student government including GPSF, so I don’t anticipate anyone campaigning against the referendum being passed. I could be wrong, but with the leadership from all of the branches being in favor of it, it should have a good chance of passing.”
If the referendum passes, student government would continue to have both undergraduates and graduate and professional students represented on the Board of Trustees through one student body president position.
But the two groups of students would also each have their own presidents, their own cabinets and their own senates. A joint committee with students from both legislative bodies would preside over the two governments.
Simons said if the referendum doesn’t pass, GPSF would have to come up with a new plan that all of the branches agree upon.
“We would have to go back to the drawing board, which would be difficult because this is the agreement we thought would work for everybody,” he said. “To try to come up with a completely new agreement would be a tall task, but I’m hopeful we won’t have to go down that road.”