The Student Association Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to create a special commission to examine changing the SA constitution to split the SA into separate bodies for graduate and undergraduate students.
The piece of legislation was a result of last week’s passage last week of a referendum supporting the idea of separate legislatures.
“The students want the SA to reform to better serve their needs,” said undergraduate Sen. Jonathan Skrmetti (CSAS), a sponsor of the bill. “This commission will lay the foundation for that reform.”
In accordance with the bill, which needs the approval of SA President Carrie Potter, the commission will be comprised of nine students. The Senate will appoint four of these commission members. One of the nominees must be a student who is not a senator and one nominee must be a graduate or professional student.
The bill mandates that the SA president must appoint another four members. Of those, two of the president’s appointments must be graduate students, one of whom must be in a professional school. In addition, one of the four members must be a student who does not currently hold a position within the SA.
The last member of the commission will be the chief judge of the student court or his designee.
The composition of the commission, with regards to numbers of graduate and undergraduate students serving as members, was a point of contention at Wednesday night’s meeting.
Graduate Sen. Abel Tello (SMHS) said he was concerned that the commission had the potential of being comprised of two graduate students. His concerns, coupled with the concerns of other senators, prompted the amendment, which requires the executive to appoint two graduate students as opposed to one.
Some senators expressed concern that Potter would not sign the bill because of the amendment. But Executive Vice President Jesse Strauss said he believes Potter’s refusal to sign the bill would be detrimental to a cause that she has fought for in the past.
“(Potter) is gung-ho for this and I don’t think she wants to do anything to hold it up,” Skrmetti said. “I think she wants to pass this stuff as quickly as she can.”
Potter was out of town and unavailable for comment.