Senate puts constitutional amendment on spring ballot

March 18, 2013, 2:12 p.m.

During a virtual emergency meeting this weekend, the ASSU Undergraduate Senate approved an amendment to the ASSU Constitution that, if passed by the student body during the spring elections, will allow some Senate seats to be reserved for upperclassmen.

The amendment, which stipulates that the joint bylaws of the Senate and the Graduate Student Council (GSC) can determine the number of Senate seats to be reserved for upperclassmen, was initially voted on at the Senate’s March 12 meeting. Eight senators voted in favor of the amendment, four voted against it and one abstained.

While the Senate initially announced that the bill had been approved, senators realized after the meeting that they did not have the two-thirds approval from all senators needed for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot.

The Senate decided to hold a virtual meeting over the weekend to vote on the bill again, reflecting senators’ concerns that the vote was invalid because it had not been announced that the amendment needed nine votes to pass.

During the virtual meeting, ten senators voted in favor of the amendment and three — Anna Brezhneva ’15, Brandon Hightower ’15 and Janhavi Vartak ’15 — voted against it. Christos Haveles ’15, who had previously abstained, and Nancy Pham ’14, who had previously voted against the bill, both voted in favor

The amendment was one of two bills written by ASSU Executive candidates Billy Gallagher ’14 and Dan Ashton ’14. The first amendment initially proposed an annual transfer of unspent student fees money to a new fund that would be controlled by the ASSU Executive and called the President’s Discretionary Fund.

At the Senate’s March 12 meeting, Gallagher and Ashton presented a revised version of the amendment, which stated that the unallocated money would be transferred to a fund for the Senate, called the Undergraduate Fees Reserves Fund.

Following a heated debate at the meeting, Gallagher and Ashton decided to withdraw their first amendment until the student body could further discuss it during spring quarter.

The second amendment, which was passed by the Senate this weekend, originally proposed reserving up to five Senate seats for upperclassmen. At the Senate’s March 12 meeting, Gallagher and Ashton announced that they had modified the amendment to state that the number of seats reserved for upperclassmen would be determined by the joint bylaws.

Gallagher is a Daily staffer, and Ashton is a member of The Daily’s Board of Directors.

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