Over concerns regarding the conduct of Student Assembly members during meetings, the S.A. temporarily paused a resolution on Thursday that would create a committee tasked with the responsibility of ensuring elected representatives are better held accountable for their actions.
The resolution lists multiple instances in which S.A. members have reportedly engaged in misconduct, including allegedly using “racist and sexist dog whistle terminology” during presentations and making derogatory comments about other members, such as “behavior resembling sexual harassment.” Another issue raised in the resolution was a historic distrust of the S.A. among students.
According to the resolution, the newly formed Oversight, Accountability and Reform Committee was not proposed because of the direct actions of certain S.A. members, but rather concerns raised from committees, committee presenters, and the general voting body.
Gavin Martin ’20, College of Arts and Sciences representative and co-sponsor of the resolution, said that at an appropriations committee meeting, a committee member supposedly texted a racist and misogynistic message to a presenter.
“This is something that needs to happen, not only on the executive committee, but the S.A. as a whole is taking steps to make sure we get rid of the corruption,” said Jacob Feit ’22, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences representative.
Martin said that the issues of misconduct or accountability should not be left to be addressed solely by an individual member of the S.A. — such as the president, executive vice president or parliamentarian.
The resolution goes on to state that the new committee, which would be led by an S.A. vice president, would not “resemble a human resource department in a corporate office … or an outlet for emotional or mental relief,” but instead would serve as a means to internally reform the S.A.
To do so, the resolution further proposes that the committee would launch inquiries, although it is so far unclear what such inquiries would look like. The committee meetings would not be open to the public and committee members will be required to sign non-disclosure agreements.
The resolution will be presented again on Tuesday.