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Senate proposes procedural reforms inspired by Cavallaro


Stock photo of Student Association meeting. Photo Credit: Sirui Zhou

By Rishab Ramapriyan     3/5/19 11:24pm

The Student Association  proposed two bylaw amendments and one constitutional amendment aimed at removing ambiguous and redundant positions during Monday’s SA Senate meeting. Two of the changes had been previously proposed by SA Presidential Candidate Freddy Cavallaro in his #DismantleTheSA platform.

The three pieces of legislation would eliminate the director of external affairs and associate vice president positions, consolidate the temporary student committees and broaden the standards for sponsorship of legislation. 

The proposed constitutional amendment, which the SA Parliamentarian Nicholas Jerge and SA Internal Vice President and President-elect Grace Wickerson introduced, would broaden the sponsorship standards for SA legislation. 

According to the amendment legislation, the current SA Senate constitution requires all legislation to be sponsored by at least one voting member of SA Senate. According to Jerge and Wickerson, this requirement restricts opportunities for students not involved in SA Senate to express their opinions. Jerge said that he believes any student should be able to propose legislation to the SA Senate. 

“As a parliamentarian, I do believe that it’s completely rational to remove the requirement that legislation has to be sponsored by at least one voting member of [SA] Senate,” Jerge, a Sid Richardson  College sophomore, said. “People who do have ideas in mind should be able to put them forward. This lowers the barrier for students get involved in [SA] Senate.”

Cavallaro, a Will Rice College junior, had proposed the same change in his SA reform platform.

“[We should] remove this constitutional restriction so that anyone who is invested enough in proposing legislation can do so,” Cavallaro said in his platform. “This will increase inclusion and participation of non-voting members of [SA] Senate in the [SA] Senate meetings.”

Bylaw Amendment No. 7 aims to consolidate temporary student initiatives into working groups and task forces, and this legislation was also introduced by Jerge and Wickerson, a Brown College junior. 

Student Initiative Committees share a similar purpose to other temporary committees such as working groups and task forces, which are research-oriented and action-oriented, respectively.

“We are still addressing things that come from the student body, but now in a one-stop shop,” Jerge said. 

Outgoing Hanszen College Senator Tessa Schreiber, a sophomore, proposed Bylaw Amendment No. 8 to eliminate the director of external affairs and associate vice president positions. 

Scheiber referenced the SA’s 2018-19 goal of institutional effectiveness and said that the roles and responsibilities of these positions are vaguely defined in the bylaws. 

“Poorly defined roles make accountability, oversight and delegation challenging,” Schreiber said.  “While the two holders of the position this year have been effective, there is no way to maintain that throughout the years and remain consistent.”

Schreiber’s amendment was also a component of Cavallaro’s recent platform. 

“These positions were created by past presidents as ways to give positions of power to friends without an election,” Cavallaro said in his platform. “These positions do not have distinct or well-developed charters or responsibilities and the [SA] Senate would benefit from their removal.”   

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