After a week of deliberation, the Undergraduate Association Ad-Hoc Committee on Restructuring presented several changes to bill 42 UAS 14.2, UA President Vrajesh Y. Modi ’11’s proposed overhaul of the UA governing structure. The most significant change is the expansion of the proposed Council of Representatives — which would replace the UA Senate should 14.2 be approved — from 16 to 20 members, adding three additional representatives from the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and one additional representative from the Panhellenic Association (Panhel). According to Committee Chair Timothy R. Jenks ’13, current senator of fraternities, the additional members were added in response to Committee concerns of underrepresentation of affiliated Greek students on the Council.
Along with the four additional Greek members, the proposed Council would consist of the presidents of the 12 dormitories, the president of the IFC, the president of Panhel, the speaker of the Living Group Council (LGC), and an elected off-campus representative.
After delivering his report, Jenks proposed 42 UAS 15.1, which was subsequently passed by the Senate. The bill created the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Implementation of Potential Restructuring, charged with both reviewing the current implementation plan (or creating a new plan) for restructuring and communicating the proposed structural changes and transition plan to undergraduates and outside parties.
Several other changes to 14.2 aimed to address what Jenks described as concerns with the “checks and balances” of the new structure. Changes include the addition of the ability of the Council to both overrule any decision of the UA President with a fifteen-member vote and to overrule the removal of a UA Committee Chair with a thirteen-member vote.
According to Jenks, the work of the Committee on Restructuring is complete.
On Sunday, the Dormitory Council (DormCon) voted down the initial draft of 14.2, garnering only 68 percent of the required 75 percent to pass the measure. Should the proposals in 14.2 be implemented, DormCon’s structure would change drastically — the Dormitory Council Constitution would cease to exist under the proposed UA Constitution, and dorm presidents, not independently elected Senators, would represent their constituencies to the UA. As such, 14.2 requires the approval of both DormCon and the UA to pass. The explicit approval of the LGC, the IFC, and Panhel is not required since these organizations are not structurally affected by 14.2.
DormCon votes are proportional to the number of constituents represented by each dorm president — for example, the Baker House president, who presides over 322 Baker residents, has 322 votes. 14.2 had 2012.6 votes in favor, short of the 2189 votes required for 75 percent, according to DormCon President Christina R. Johnson ’11.
Eight of 12 dorms voted 100 percent in favor of 14.2. Of those that did not, 91 percent of Next House votes, 100 percent of Simmons Hall votes, and 70 percent of Burton Conner votes were against the proposal. And in MacGregor, a single vote was cast against the proposal.
Johnson cited concerns with the process of 14.2’s implementation as the primary reason for votes against the bill. “The presidents that voted [14.2] down said they had read it, and understood the plan, but they felt like they needed more time to communicate the plan to their constituencies, talk to administrators to get their perspectives, and then even consider alternate proposals,” she said. “Then they could come to a decision about what was best.”
Jenks independently echoed a similar concern in the Senate meeting. “I think that [getting the proposal passed] is a lot of getting the word out and getting people more knowledgeable about how things are being done. Then the common concerns will go away,” he said.
The Committee on the Implementation of Potential Restructuring will report back to the Senate at its next meeting on Thursday, April 14. The Senate voted to add this meeting to hear the report of the Committee before the next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 25.