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UA Rejects Election Process Changes

By Waseem S. Daher

ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

The Undergraduate Association Senate defeated a bill modifying the procedure for electing senators representing fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

In its meeting yesterday evening, the UA Senate reviewed a bill that would set up a committee to change how senators from the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association are elected.

In addition, the Senate passed a resolution affirming its support for the IFC’s attempt to reserve Killian Court for the beginning of Rush.

Mary Callahan, MIT’s registrar, addressed the Senate to speak about WebSIS, MIT’s student information system.

The UA also allocated money for the Muses, DomeView, an orientation kick-off party, wellness seminars, and UA office renovation.

Finally, the new officers of the Undergraduate Association were sworn in and formally took office.

IFC, Panhel seek voting reform

The rationale behind the bill jointly proposed by Panhel and the IFC was that the procedures for electing IFC and Panhel representatives does not fairly represent the organizations.

According to the UA Senate Bylaws, a dormitory or living group is allotted one senator per 160 undergraduate residents. However, the IFC is treated as one living group, as is Panhel. This is most notably a problem in the case of Panhel, because only the individuals that live in sorority houses are eligible to vote for the Panhel senator.

“This means that only about 20 percent of the members of Panhel actually get to vote for Panhel senator,” said Panhel Senator Robin M. Davis ’05.

The bill attempted to solve this problem by creating a task force that would have come up with a suitable voting scheme this summer.

At the center of the proposal was the fact that affiliated undergraduates living in dormitories would be able to select whether they wished to vote for a dormitory representative or for an IFC/Panhel representative.

However, the bill was received with mixed reaction. Seth E. Dorfman ’05, senator from Simmons, spoke out against the bill because solutions like this have been proposed and were determined not to be viable, he said.

Others approved of the bill. It had “great long-term potential,” said Pius A. Uzamere II ’04.

The bill was narrowly defeated with a vote of 9 in favor, 9 against, and two abstentions.

Following the bill’s defeat, IFC President Daniel H. Daneshvar read a statement to the UA Senate. The UA senate has “continued the trend of disenfranchising over one-third of the student body,” and the IFC does not feel that it is “getting fair or accurate representation,” he said.

Davis insisted that the IFC and Panhel were not going to stop their attempt to reform. “We’re going to continue to work on it. We want this to be a representative situation for both Panhel and the IFC,” she said.

Money allocated, Rush supported

The Senate also loaned $3,500 to the Muses for the production of their new CD, $1,500 for an “Orientation Kick-Off After-Party” planned for the Class of 2008, $1,000 to help support “wellness seminars” designed to educate students about MIT Medical’s services, and $4,692 to purchase tables, chairs, and miscellaneous renovations for the UA office.

The Senate also allocated $12,000 for DomeView, an iCampus project seeking to put liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in various locations in campus, displaying advertisements for student events.

In addition, the UA passed a resolution to support “the Interfraternity Council in their bid to reserve and use Killian Court” for Rush Kickoff 2004.