Michael Li / Sun Staff Photographer

Student Assembly members amend a resolution to restructure the S.A. at Williard Stragiht Hall on Thursday.

October 6, 2016

S.A. Votes to Table Restructuring Resolution Again, Disputing Committee’s Inclusivity

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The Student Assembly voted once again Thursday to table Resolution 11, which would create an ad-hoc committee to restructure the S.A. to better represent the student body.

Resolution 11 was previously tabled at the assembly’s Sept. 29 meeting. Co-sponsors Gabe Kaufman ’18, undergraduate representative to the University Assembly, and Akhilesh Issur ’17, international student liaison at large, offered to receive further comments on the S.A. Investigative Committee on Membership Reform, or SAICMR.

“There’s a lot of disagreement on restructuring,” Issur said. “Whether it should take place, when there should be restructuring, how restructuring should take place, if there should be a committee and what the membership of that committee would look like. We really want to take the opportunity to talk about all of these different issues.”

Issur and Kaufman stressed the importance of reaching out to community members for their perspectives on the issue, adding that another reason for disagreement over the resolution is the contending definitions about what “community input looks like.”

Kaufman proposed allowing members of the student body to have a say in the potential restructuring by “having forums before the committee is actually established,” and expressed agreement with the decision to table the resolution until after the forums could be held.

Julia Montejo ’17, vice president of diversity and inclusion, dissented from the resolution “on principle,” saying it was proposed without any community input.

“If you’re doing something with the purpose of empowering the community and empowering more representation for the community, go to the community first,” she said.

In an effort to clarify the resolution, members of the assembly passed amendments to the original proposal. The first amendment was proposed by Dustin Liu ’19, vice president of public relations. Liu said his proposal would make membership to SAICMR application-based and “more open” than was previously proposed. His amendment passed after discussion with a 15-5 vote, with two abstaining.

In response, other members raised concerns about how SAICMR members would be chosen.

“We already have mechanisms in place to staff other committees that are application-based, and I think that would achieve better representation,” Montejo said.

Kaufman proposed another amendment calling for the addition of “two open forums scheduled by the executive committee,” which passed with a 12-8 vote and two people abstaining.

He also motioned to amend SAICMR’s member appointment process to reflect normal S.A. procedures, which passed with a 14-6 vote.

Both Hamish MacDiarmid ’19, College of Arts and Sciences representative, and Diana Li ’17, vice president of finance, emphasized the importance of increasing community involvement in the decision making process, regardless of the outcome.

“Without a sufficient campaign of outreach to the student body to have a more representative S.A., we will not know what they desire,” MacDiarmid said. “The resolution is currently too contentious in its wording and structure, and not conducive to results.”

Ultimately, by a 13-9 vote with no abstentions, the S.A. voted to table Resolution 11 until next week.