This year, the Student Association put forward two referenda for students to vote on in the upcoming elections.
The first referendum, The Constitutional Reform and Amendment Referendum of 2021, would allow for the SA president to leave their position voluntarily or by an executive cabinet unanimous vote. The second referendum asks students to vote on whether they would be in favor of the creation of an urban studies minor within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
Students should vote yes on both referenda during the upcoming elections.
Vote yes on: Constitutional Reform and Amendment Referendum of 2021
This referendum is a clear reaction to what happened this past year with then-SA President Howard Brookins’ sexual misconduct allegations and subsequent impeachment process and resignation. The referendum should be recognized as a faster and more effective way of removing someone who has caused harm to the community from office.
Voting yes would preserve the autonomy of the SA and student body from administrative red tape and offices like the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The fact that there was no official complaint reported to the University was a large hinderance to removing Brookins from office after the misconduct allegations surfaced. This referendum will place some of the power in the hands of the SA, allowing the executive cabinet to remove a president from office if they pose a threat to the student body without needing to jump through hoops that prolong the process.
Voting yes on this amendment will also set a precedent for years to come that the SA can learn from events past and make it easier to hold elected officials accountable for their actions. If it is easier to remove someone from office because of inappropriate and harmful actions, then maybe students will have more of a say in what happens once we elect someone to office.
Vote yes on: Creating an urban studies minor
While the referendum on the urban studies minor may seem random and inconsequential if you don’t have an interest in urban studies, it is the byproduct of student support. The editorial board could not come up with a concrete reason why not to endorse this referendum, because it is supported and backed up by students. That said, the editorial board could not find a reason for why this topic was important enough to be made into a referendum.
It is worth noting that this referendum is an odd way to gauge student support for a minor. The SA is capable of sending out surveys or polls to students when it likes, and it could have done so specifically for CCAS students rather than through a student-wide vote.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This year’s endorsements were written by opinions editor Hannah Thacker and contributing opinions editor Andrew Sugrue, based on discussions with managing director Kiran Hoeffner-Shah, managing editor Parth Kotak, sports editor Emily Maise, culture editor Anna Boone and design editor Olivia Columbus and interviews with the candidates.
This article appeared in the March 29, 2021 issue of the Hatchet.