Although more than two-thirds of the senators present Tuesday approved the bill, several senators voted against it because it will decrease the amount of money available for student organizations.
“I feel like it’s taking away the opportunity for clubs to get the money they deserve and they want, and that’s why I’m against it,” Sen. Holden Rogers said.
Some members of the Senate agreed with Rogers, but Sen. Oliver Mitchell-Boyask said the Senate needs to make sure they are not underfunding the Honor System.
“Funding the Honor Court in order to ensure fair trials and the full attention of the Honor Court to each person under consideration is one of the best ways that we can spend these kinds of funds,” Mitchell-Boyask said.
Toward the end of discussion, Speaker Kennith Echeverria — who introduced the bill — assured the senators that the Oversight and Advocacy Committee, Honor Court chairperson and Attorney General worked hard to find an amount that is fair.
“O&A has been meeting with them for like, the past three weeks to ensure that this number is correct and that it’s fair and that it’s not a burden on student fees,” Echeverria said.
Support for Christine Blasey Ford’s nomination for a distinguished alumna award
With a two-thirds majority, the Undergraduate Senate passed a resolution written by the Graduate and Professional Student Federation in support of UNC graduate Christine Blasey Ford’s nomination for a distinguished alumna award.
In September, Blasey Ford testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Blasey Ford graduated from UNC with a degree in psychology in 1988.
Contentious debate broke out in the Undergraduate Senate as several members of the Rules and Judiciary Committee spoke out against how passing the resolution would be perceived, including the chairperson of the committee, Tanner Henson.
Henson said the Senate should avoid this issue because of the charged political opinions surrounding it and due to the uncertainty that Blasey Ford’s accusations are actually true.
“I feel like by passing this, we are taking a stance on an issue that we don’t have all the facts in,” Henson said.
Speaker Pro Tempore Stephen Wright, who co-sponsored the resolution, mentioned that the Senate has worked with controversial issues in the past.
"We did wade into the Silent Sam debate by appointing a select committee to Silent Sam,” he said. “To say that we are wading into something we haven’t done before and to say that we shouldn’t is a bit of a fallacy.”
Echeverria, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said the Senate and GPSF should show a united front on the issue.
“We’re making one decision, the graduate students are making another decision,” he said. “I’m asking you as one student government to come together and make this decision.”
The bill was passed by both the Undergraduate Senate and the Graduate and Professional Student Federation and will now be sent to the Joint Governance Council for consideration as joint legislation.
If passed as joint legislation, the resolution will be sent to to Chancellor Carol Folt, Board of Trustees Chairperson Haywood Cochrane and President of the UNC Association of Student Governments Tyler Hardin, among others.