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Thursday February 2nd

101st Undergraduate Senate disagrees over first substantive bill

Student Body President Ashton Martin updates the 101st Undergraduate Senate during the body’s first full meeting.
Buy Photos Student Body President Ashton Martin updates the 101st Undergraduate Senate during the body’s first full meeting.

The first substantive bill deliberated by the 101st Undergraduate Senate was sent back to the Rules and Judiciary Committee Tuesday after over an hour of deliberation.

The bill, which would require the creation of several undergraduate and graduate student government annual reports, was criticized because it would cut a student government branch’s funding to at most half of what it received in the last funding cycle if it does not finish its report.

Some senators, including Senator Jerrick Li, opposed the original bill because the provision for cutting funding could possibly be weaponized by a future administration.

“What happens if in some circumstance, a direct competitor becomes the next president? So, what if the previous administration has incentive to drastically cut down the funding for the next administration?” Li said.

Senator Erik Beene, who co-sponsored the bill, said he was disappointed that the Senate stalled the passing of the bill by planning for the possible malicious intent of future student government officials.

“I don’t think that this was a complicated issue at all – we’re simply trying to codify a yearbook, essentially, into the rules,” Beene said. “It astounds me that we cannot all agree that a yearbook is a good idea and would pass and that we can all function in good faith.”

The annual report, which would include important documents from the Undergraduate Executive Branch, the Undergraduate Judicial Branch, the Undergraduate Senate and the Joint Governance Council, would be available to the student body via digital download. 

Four physical books would also be presented to the Chancellor, the incoming Student Body President, the Board of Trustees chairperson and a representative from University archives at a proposed “Passing of the Book Ceremony” during the Undergraduate Senate’s spring inauguration.

Senators such as Senator Corry Dauderman suggested alternatives to the punishment for not completing the annual reports, including using impeachment and cutting individual officials’ stipends as punishment instead of cutting funds for an entire branch of student government.

“Sending it to committee gives us a week to think about it and gives them a week to write it,” Dauderman said. “And maybe one of (the Rules and Judiciary Committee members) will notice that a piece of how that amendment was written will have crazy compounding effects in other portions of our rules.” 

The bill, which was introduced by Senator Rachel Augustine and Chairperson of the Rules and Judiciary Committee Tanner Henson, will now be reevaluated by the Rules and Judiciary Committee at its meeting next Tuesday.


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