October 12, 2001

New Student Representative Blasts S.A. for Res. 11

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The Student Assembly upheld a recently passed resolution yesterday, despite urgings from some members to rescind the resolution and allow further discussion.

“Resolution eleven” was unanimously passed by the S.A. on Sept. 27. The resolution changes the election process for the Student Assembly elected new student seats. Previously, the charter required that three freshmen and one transfer student be elected for these seats. The resolution changes this requirement and allows the four new student seats to be held by any new student, freshman or transfer, therefore allowing the four students with the most votes to win, regardless of class year.

Ari Epstein ’04, agriculture and life sciences representative, proposed the motion to rescind resolution eleven. Epstein first explained the need for transfer representation in the S.A. According to Epstein, the transfer student experience “differs markedly” from that of a freshman, and transfer students have “perspectives distinct from freshman that ought to be represented on the Assembly.”

In addition to concerns about properly representing the transfer community, Epstein also raised the issue that the date on which the resolution was approved may have been inappropriate. “It was approved on a day when one third of the members were absent for Yom Kippur, the holiest and most austere of holidays in the Jewish religion” he said.

According to Epstein, the S.A. should have given some thought to the students absent due to the religious holiday. “I would hope that somebody would entertain the notion that someone from among that one-third of the Assembly that was absent might have something significant to say, not to mention the incoming new student representatives who were not yet sworn in at that time,” he said.

According to Epstein, “there was no concern shown for the students who were absent.”

Epstein said that his main concerns about the resolution, however, were that it was placed in new business and passed on the same day it was proposed, instead of being reviewed and discussed over a longer period of time.

“It was introduced in one day and passed on the same day. That’s not acceptable procedure. Things get railroaded through and people might be absent because they’re sick or because of religious events, so this is one [problem] that could have easily been avoided,” Epstein said.

Several S.A. members spoke in support of keeping resolution eleven. Mark Greenbaum ’02, executive vice president, said that the decision to pass resolution eleven was a “pragmatic move. You can’t win with sixty votes and have someone lose with 300. That is totally unfair. That personally offended my sensibilities that this continually happened,” he said.

Greenbaum said the fact that the “[the resolution] passed by acclimation without a single objection in two minutes shows that a lot of these objections here were uncalled for.”

Nick Linder ’05, new student representative, also voted against the motion to rescind. Because new student representatives were not sworn in at the time, they were not able to vote on the actual resolution eleven.

Linder said that he voted against rescinding during this meeting primarily “on the grounds that two-thirds of the Assembly passed the resolution