The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday February 9th

Undergraduate senate debates redistricting bill

Undergraduate Student Senate met Thursday to discuss a bill that would redraw Senate district lines, and to discuss goals for the upcoming school year for their first summer session meeting.

Senate Speaker Katharine Shriver opened various statements from chairs that could not attend. Brian Fields, director of external affairs of the undergraduate student government, had a statement on the relationship between the Board of Governors and the UNC Center for Civil Rights.

“We are also working on gathering support for the UNC Center for Civil Rights, which is under assault by the Board of Governors, and welcome any help from anyone that would like to assist in the area," Shriver read from Fields’ statement.

Finance Chairperson Rachel Augustine announced a bill that would allocate funds to their clerk, Lauren Shumpert, who had been clerking for two years.

Ashley Molesworth, a member of the rules and judiciary committee, cosponsored a bill with Tarik Woods, committee chairperson of rules and judiciary, that would redraw the senate district lines to be along on- off-campus housing, first-generation students, transfer students, undeclared majors and majors that are categorically split up according to the UNC website.

“All of these are going to have two seats in it, which leaves the Senate with 50 seats,” Molesworth said. “People were also concerned with switching majors just to get into the Senate and then switching them back, so I added section two, that says if a senator switches their major during a term, they just won't have their seat anymore and they'll have to run again next term.”

Section two was thoroughly debated and a possible solution presented was to make it an ethics and honor court violation to switch majors in order to gain a Senate seat.

Shriver said she agreed with the ethics and honor court violation solution and would not be surprised if someone did use the tactic of switching majors to gain a Senate seat.

“I think we just need to keep a watchful eye to be honest because there's good apples and bad apples in every bunch,” Shriver said. “As long as we continue to expand, but we make sure we're doing it in an effective and appropriate way, then I think we won't have as much issues as we're foreseeing right now.”

Brandon Ivey, vice chair of the oversight and advocacy committee, said that section two was “absurd,” because students would not take that effort of changing their major for to run for a student senate election.

“To say that I'm changing my entire career, just to run for student congress senate, and then changing it back?" Ivey said.

Shriver also said she didn’t think the Senate was prepared enough for the upcoming year, and could have motivated more students to be involved with the Senate.

“We didn't really go out and get a lot of senators, so in the start of this session it's just 14 people, and there's, I think, 25 seats, so it's super embarrassing,” Shriver said.

The bill was pulled back to the drawing board, but will be reconsidered for the next meeting for summer session two.

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