SA Senate stalls on passage of constitution

After fiery debate, an agitated Student Association Senate failed to pass a bill for a new constitution Tuesday night in the Marvin Center.

The bill called for a referendum that would bring sweeping constitutional changes to SA elections, the size of the SA senate and the position of the SA executive vice president, according to SA Sen. Brandon Sherr (CCAS-G), the author of the bill.

A similar constitutional referendum was approved by the GW students last spring and failed to be adopted because of questions of constitutionality.

“(This year’s bill) is a waste of time, waste of money, waste of resources,” said SA Sen. Chris Rotella (CCAS-U), a junior, after nearly an hour of debate on the bill. “We should not be held hostage.”

Sherr said he provided senators with the opportunity to meet with him outside of the Senate and propose any changes to the bill.

“Without new SA rules, we are going to fall into the same hole we fall into every year,” said Sherr, a graduate student.

If passed, the constitutional amendment would have been brought forth as a referendum on a ballot to the student body in the general election.

“No one gives a damn about the constitution unless they are in this room,” SA Sen. Luke Moses (CCAS-U), a senior. “I don’t think the Senate does much to help.”

SA Executive Vice President Josh Lasky, said there is still a “small, dedicated group” in the Senate committed to advocating for students.

“I am glad we spent our time on it,” said Lasky, a senior. “We are still talking about issues. The end result is that we are engaged in a discussion.”

During the meeting, two resolutions authored by SA Sen. Marc Abanto (U-At Large), junior and chair of the Student Life Committee, and one resolution authored by SA Sen. Uptin Saiidi (SoB-U), a junior, were passed.

Abanto’s resolutions called for “an increase in the amount of information available on off-campus housing options” and the condemnation of the State Plaza Hotel’s “attempts to prevent its employees from unionizing,” according to SA documents.

Saiidi’s resolution called for a partnership with University Book Auctions to establish a Web site where students can trade textbooks, according to SA documents.

This was the last Senate meeting of the fall semester. The Senate will meet again Jan. 16.

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