Rather than the currently required class-council projects, each senator would be required, according to amendment, to complete at least one individual project during the academic year. The Judiciary Committee (JC) would assess whether each senator had successfully completed the assignment. Should the JC find that a senator had failed to complete a project, the senator would not be permitted to run for re-election for the next academic year.
Arja got enough signatures on the amendment to bring it to a student referendum without the senate’s approval, but the senate debated whether to put its support behind the amendment and whether to amend the original amendment. Senator Marco LaCascio ’07 expressed his support. “[I] like the spirit of the amendment,” he said.
However, other senators expressed several concerns about the amendment, including setting a standard for senators’ projects and finding appropriate financing for all of the projects. Senator Gabriel Mattera ’05 called for a minimum standard for the projects. “[We] need some kind of flat-out standard right now,” he said.
Senator Spencer Robins ’08 expressed further concerns about the proposed amendment’s potential to create serious monetary problems. His concern was that senators may feel compelled to argue that they have a priority over other student-run clubs and organizations for Budgetary Committee funds, particularly at the end of the year when such funds are quite low.
However, Arja pointed out that these projects don’t have to be expensive and that there are sources of money outside of the discretionary fund, including individual departments.
Arja expressed her disappointment at the unwelcome reception to her constitutional amendment with a firm defense. “The point of the entire amendment was for senators to do more for the student body,” she said. “Class-council projects end up happening at the last minute and one or two people end up doing all the work. It’s upsetting that you have to create an amendment to force senators to do something they should be doing upon their own volition.”
Arja ultimately agreed to withdraw the amendment referendum from next week’s mid-term election. As a result, Senator Dan Reiss ’05 led a motion, which the senate passed, to create an ad-hoc commitee dedicated to creating an amendment similar to Arja’s that would be suitable to everyone.