April 8, 2014

SG amends election bylaws

On Wednesday, College Council passed two bylaw amendments and tabled a third regarding Student Government (SG) elections. The first amendment passed made it easier for students studying abroad through the University to run for College Council positions, and the second raised the number of petition signatures needed to run for a seat from 30 to 50.

Petitions to run for SG positions became available on Monday, and campaigning begins on April 18.

College Council Chair Mike Viola said that the amendment to allow students in University study abroad programs to run for College Council arose from a lack of upperclassmen running for seats.

“We had difficulties getting third- and fourth-years to run, and reportedly study abroad has been a big factor,” Viola said. “When last year’s second-years were running to be third-year reps, there were only two declared candidates for four seats.”

The new bylaw allows students studying abroad through the University to select a proxy to represent them in the Council during the quarter they are abroad. Viola said that representatives can study abroad for one quarter, provided that they nominate a replacement for College Council by eighth week of the quarter prior to their study abroad program. Students participating in study abroad programs that are not University-sponsored still may not run for College Council seats.

Amendments to bylaws can be passed with a two-thirds vote by the Student Assembly.

The other major bylaw change raised the number of petition signatures needed to run for a College Council seat from 30 to 50. Viola indicated that such a change had already occurred in practice for the 2013 College Council elections, but had yet to be changed in the bylaws.

“The bylaw states that 30 signatures are needed to run for College Council. I don’t know where the discrepancy came from, but last year they asked for 50 signatures. I don’t know why the bylaw wasn’t followed, but we came to the conclusion that 50 signatures was better than 30,” Viola said. “You can get 30 signatures just by going to two classes, or one lecture, so it was almost too easy. So for someone running to represent a class of 1,500 people, you should be willing to talk to 50 of them. That passed uncontroversially.”

A third proposed amendment, which proposed that College Council members be allowed three absences per quarter, two of which a proxy should be present for, was tabled for future discussion due to disagreements. Currently College Council members can miss three meetings without sending a proxy.

According to Viola, College Council is looking to amend other bylaws before the end of the year. These amendments include introducing an election system to fill midyear College Council vacancies and altering assembly endorsement bylaws to allow slate and liaison candidates to endorse each other when running for seats.