RHA open-election amendment fails

The Residence Hall Association rejected a proposed amendment to its constitution Wednesday that would have established campus-wide elections for the organization’s highest-ranking positions.

The amendment, proposed by JBKO Hall Representative Adam Green, called for students in all residence halls to elect the president and vice president for programming of RHA after a one-week campaign period.

Currently, only members of RHA, who are elected by each residence hall, vote for the executive board.

“My premise is that currently, students don’t know what RHA is and they don’t know who to go to voice their concerns,” Green said. “I want the candidates to take their message to the residents.”

The amendment, requiring two-thirds approval, lost by a vote of 7-7 and did not have the support of RHA President Randy Bomze.

“It might not necessarily be an improvement,” Bomze said. “It might confuse a lot of people. I think that a lot of people will vote on popularity status.”

RHA members said residents unaware of issues involved in the organization may not elect the best person to fill the position.

But Francis Scott Key Hall resident Rachel Waldron said open elections would foster more awareness about the RHA among residents.

“I think it’s a good idea . so it’s not such a selective group who gets to vote because (the executive board) has a say in things that affect us,” Waldron said.

Currently, any person with one semester’s experience on RHA or a hall council can run for president. The proposed amendment would continue that prerequisite, and have students vote in their halls, similar to hall council votes.

“It’s a possibility to get a bad president anyway with the system we already have,” said Jonathan Skrmetti, president of Munson Hall. “It’s an opportunity to fix something that’s not necessarily broken, but could maybe be improved on.”

Despite the initial defeat of the amendment, Green said he plans to continue his effort to win the votes needed to pass it. He said his hope is to get the amendment passed soon, so the new rules can be enacted for this year’s elections.

Green said he will promote his idea at hall council meetings in the next few weeks to clarify his proposal. He said he believes some residence hall representatives, who each have one vote, were confused on logistics of the amendment, but support the concept.

“A week of exposure for ideas will let residents know what we’re doing,” Green said. “Truthfully, anyone who stands against open elections has an ignorant view.”

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