Senate proposes ballot question

A referendum on next month’s election ballot will allow students to decide if the Student Association needs a vice president for student activities.

A referendum to remove the position was defeated in the 1996 election. A similar referendum was passed in 1995, but then was overturned by the Student Court after it concluded the SA used student funds to urge support for the referendum.

In proposing the bill that established the referendum, graduate Sen. J.P. Blackford (SEAS) said the student activities vice presidency has become obsolete because the planning of Homecoming week – formerly one of the major responsibilities of the office – has been taken over by the Program Board and an SA-appointed Homecoming director.

Blackford’s bill also calls for the SA to redefine the roles of its vice presidents for undergraduate and graduate policy. He said the policy vice presidents would shoulder the responsibilities of the vice president for student activities if that position is eliminated.

“We’re trying to streamline the bureaucracy,” Blackford said.

Will Stewart was appointed vice president for student activities at a Senate meeting earlier this semester.

“I’m trying to make this role active,” Stewart said. “It’s a big role and maybe the definition should be changed, but it should not be eliminated.”

SA President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar said he may choose to veto the bill, a move he will have to make before the Senate’s next meeting in two weeks.

“Maybe the position needs to be redefined, but the students have shown by voting (in recent years) that they do not want to see this position destroyed,” Golparvar said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Senate also established a tuition action director to represent the SA and the student body to GW on financial issues.

According to the bill, the director will be an executive officer appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. Golparvar established an ad hoc tuition action committee last semester, but it was not a permanent fixture in the organization’s bylaws.

The bill requires the Senate appoint a tuition action director every year to ensure the SA has the means to address tuition concerns.

“This is something the SA has kind of dropped the ball on in years past,” undergraduate Sen. Jesse Strauss (CSAS) said. “The creation of this committee is a means of correcting a past error the SA made by not having a system set up to deal with tuition concerns.

“This bill is especially pertinent because the Board of Trustees is voting on tuition this week,” he said.

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