January 26, 2007

Student Government adds new council seats in special election

[img id="80137" align="alignleft"] The Student Government (SG) Graduate and College Councils were expanded to 17 seats each, and Zach Binney was elected as third-year representative to College Council Thursday night.

The seats were added to each council in response to a petition circulated by nighttime students at the Graduate School of Business (GSB) requesting that the University add an additional seat to the Graduate Council. Although the GSB already had two representatives on the council—schools are given either one or two seats, depending on size—the night students had not previously been represented. The SG General Assembly granted the request because the nighttime GSB students’ population exceeds that of some of the smaller graduate programs represented.

The College Council, which had previously consisted of four representatives per class year, will, under the new arrangement, allow for an additional representative for whichever class is represented by the College Council chair. Under the former SG bylaws, the College Council chair was a non-voting member, so the chair’s class was represented by only three votes.

“Usually the 16th member will be chosen immediately following the selection of the College Council chair in the fall by having the 5th-place person for the Chair’s class become a representative,” said third-year Scott Duncombe, who currently serves in the position. “Because we’re in the middle of the year we’re having the special election to fill that spot instead.”

SG issued a call for candidates over University listhosts, and three third-year students ultimately asked to be considered for the position. A majority of the College Council selected Binney, founder and former editor in chief of the Shady Dealer, the campus satirical newspaper, who pursued an SG position for the third time after failed bids for election to the Executive Slate last year and College Council earlier this year.

“Most of you already know me and what I stand for, but here’s a quick refresher: common sense,” said Binney in a written statement. “I’ll work in whatever way I can to help SG and CC work more efficiently and effectively.”

Binney’s opponents included Bobby Zacharias, who entered the race advocating a new initiative aimed at bringing more public art to campus, and Dwight Carswell, current president of the Inter-House Council, Burton-Judson Council, and his house, who expressed interest in further involvement in student life.

“I was pretty heavily involved with student government when I was in high school, culminating in being president of the student body,” Zacharias said in a written statement. “I’d love to see some random sculpture and other bits of art on our campus, and I think that a conscientious (and controlled, i.e. not aesthetically unreasonable) embrace of public art, both inside and outside of buildings, would have a positive transformative effect on the campus discourse.”

Carswell put forward a plan to lower U of C students’ transportation costs. “I’ve been involved in a lot of organizations and I think I understand the issues that affect students,” he said.

“One thing I would like to look at is the UPass for the CTA, because I think it could be done for cheaper than had been previously thought, and might be something really popular with students,” Carswell said, referring to the CTA program that allows unlimited bus or train rides to full-time students during the school year.