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Sunday, May 15, 2005

UC Direct Elections Reform Update

At today's UC meeting, a move by several proponents of the direct election reform to reconsider the legislation failed to command even a majority. It needed a 2/3 vote for reconsideration.

The legislation was the focus of a recent Crimson editorial and a lengthy rebuttal by your's truly. There was also a vociferous debate over the UC General list all weekend long.

It is yet unclear whether the bill's proponents will bring legislation to the last UC meeting of the year, which is tomorrow afternoon, calling for a referendum on the subject next September before the UC General Election. Such legislation would require the same 2/3 vote for consideration, so it is likely that for all intents and purposes that direct election reform is dead, at least for next year's elections. (more in expanded post)

There is a chance, however, that the reform may be brought forward again sometime next year. UC President Matt Glazer and now Vice-President Clay Capp (also a CC contributor) are both on record as supporting the reform and many of the legislation's staunchest supporters are expected to be up for reelection in the fall. Many of those who have led the charge against the reform, however, will not be returning to Council next year, including Treasurer Faraz Munaim and seniors Jason Lurie, Justin Chapa, and Laura Settlemyer. The bloc of freshman representatives voting against the legislation also face the traditional challenge of winning a UC seat in the fall as new sophomores in their respective houses.

Given the high turnover between each year, it is possible that a UC made up of a majority of new members may weigh the benefits of direct election reform differently than this year's Council - especially if novice representatives are presented with an Executive Board united behind the reform. Expect to see the issue to come up again sometime next fall, when the chances for a reversal of this year's decision will be high and the obstacles against consideration low. In the fall the legislation will not face a 2/3 vote for reconsideration since it will be a new Council term.

In UC politics, as in sports, there's always next year.


At 12:24 AM, Anonymous sam teller said...

Jamal, good points. But I'm not sure reform can wait. Every year that passes with a less responsive council hurts the student body, and I think we need to try a change, at least for just a year as an experiment, starting with fall elections. Mr. Petersen, leading the charge on this issue, would agree. As far as we see, if the UC will not reform itself on this issue, we may have to resort to other means to reform it from the outside. Mwahaha. But really, we'd also love to have a discussion about how to solve these problems of responsiveness without direct elections, over the summer if possible. I'm not set on direct election specifically, but I am set on doing something so that CLC is comprised of people who not just want to be there, but will do great jobs. Same for the other committees, and so on.


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