SA creates Mount Vernon College liaison

Students at Mount Vernon College will be represented by a liaison in GW’s Student Association next year, a move intended to increase the representation of MVC students on the Foggy Bottom campus.

SA President-elect Carrie Potter said the creation of the executive branch position will ensure the perspective of students at the women’s college is represented in next year’s SA.

Mount Vernon College and GW entered a multi-million dollar affiliation in the fall of 1996. MVC will be fully integrated as a campus of the University by 1999.

Earlier this year, the Senate offered Mount Vernon a non-voting seat on next year’s Senate, a position MVC student leaders said they will accept. Because Senate representation is determined by school not residency, some senators questioned the constitutionality of giving Mount Vernon College a separate seat. Senators who opposed giving MVC the seat said Mount Vernon students will be represented by the senators from their schools.

Potter said the creation of the executive branch liaison will allow Mount Vernon students to be represented but will not undermine the SA constitution.

Potter said the representative most likely will be a current Mount Vernon student, possibly chosen by the MVC Student Government Association. The executive order passed at Tuesday’s Senate meeting does not delineate the responsibilities of the position, leaving them to the discretion of the SA president.

“The approach we are taking with it is more to get the right person for the job,” Potter said. “Then we’ll talk about what will be accomplished through the position.”

In other business, the Senate defeated a bill calling for a referendum to change the percentage of votes required to win the SA presidency and executive vice presidency. The bill proposed the percentage of votes required for victory should increase from 40 percent to 50 percent.

Undergraduate Sen. Jesse Strauss (CSAS), who wrote the bill, said the legislation would ensure the winners of the elections for the SA’s top two positions had the support of the majority of the voters.

Senators who spoke in opposition to a higher threshold said it is rare for a presidential candidate to win a general election with more than 50 percent of the vote. They said upping the threshold would increase the probability of runoff elections, raising the cost of elections and agitating student voters.

“Students don’t like the regular elections, let alone run-offs,” said undergraduate Sen. Patrick Macmanus (at large). “This year’s (presidential) run-off cost almost $3,000, and if the last time a presidential candidate received 50 percent of the vote was 1991, I can’t justify the expense.”

Undergraduate Sen. David Burt (SBPM) said the current 40 percent is a strong enough mandate.

“If a candidate in a strong three-person race gets 40 percent of the vote, that is a strong finish, and I don’t see the reason to force it into a run-off and spend the extra money when student groups could really use that money,” Burt said.

The Senate also passed a resolution urging the administration to find funding to maintain the Lexis-Nexis information system in Gelman Library.

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