Residence Hall Association members will vote Wednesday on a newly-restructured amendment that would establish resident-wide voting for the organization’s president.
The original amendment, proposed by JBKO Hall Representative Adam Green, called for students in all residence halls to elect the president and vice president for programming. RHA rejected the amendment Jan. 28 by a vote of 7-6-1.
The main sticking point was gaining approval for resident-wide selection of the vice president for programming position, Green said. But the amendment was rewritten with different specifications. The revised amendment, introduced two weeks ago, includes resident-wide voting for only the organization’s president.
Currently only members of RHA, elected by each residence hall, vote for its executive board.
“Students cannot be expected to have an active interest in an organization they cannot affect,” Green said. “Currently, students cannot directly affect the RHA. By giving them an incentive to vote, they have to pay more attention.”
However, RHA members disagree about the organization’s role on campus.
Some said RHA should function as a neutral organization, acting as a bridge between students and the administration.
“The RHA is student-centered as a liaison to the administration,” said Chrissie Juliano, RHA secretary. “Anyone can come to RHA with a concern.”
However, others think RHA should function like an advocacy group. Having presidential candidates take an agenda to students would help the organization become an advocate of student issues, Green said.
“(RHA) should be taking solid stands on issues of concern to students in the residence halls,” Green said. “It takes stands when the administration asks us for our opinions, but never proactively takes our opinions to the administration.”
“If we are supposed to represent the people who live in the residence halls and they don’t know where to go when they need help, then we are not doing our job,” Munson Hall Representative Justin Lavella said.
The revised amendment was under review for two weeks by hall councils. The amendment must be passed by two-thirds, or 10 of the 14 residence halls.
If passed, the amendment would be effective for this year’s election in March or April. It would function on a one-year trial basis and then be reevaluated in the fall.
Candidates would have at least one week to campaign. The one-day election would have residents vote by secret ballot at their hall, according to the amendment. The election would be regulated by a board of elections comprised of three non-candidate residents appointed by the president and approved by RHA.