The Student Union Senate passed a bill forcing students to get written approval from the dean of students before they can run for the Senate or Executive Board.
Vice President of Business Affairs Mike Dietz cast the tie breaking vote in favor of the bill. Normally, the tie-breaking vote goes to the Executive Vice President, Molly Delaney, but she was not in attendance.
Previously, a potential candidate for the SU Executive Board or Senate did not need approval from the dean of students to run. However, the dean did reserve the right, if sanctions called for it, to prohibit a student from holding office.
“As an Executive Board, we presented this bill and when we did, we evaluated several scenarios. The dean of students has the power to stop a person from being in office, so why can we not just have a clause preventing them from running in the first place?” said Dietz.
Class of 2009 Senator Alex Lendrum disagreed with Dietz. “I think that giving final say to the dean of students has inherent problems. What would constitute severe enough disciplinary standing is not outlined in the bill itself. It largely leaves the decision up to the judgment of one administrator,” he said.
Lendrum also raised the point that the passing of this bill gives the administration too much power. “I cannot see any reason why we should give the sole responsibility of having final say in the composition of membership of these student representative organizations to a non-student administrator,” he said.
Current 2009 Class President Pat McDermott said, “The dean is the only person who can review a student’s records.” This would mean that the dean of students is the only person with the capacity to evaluate a potential candidate.
McDermott does admit, “There is some grey area. Obviously you don’t want to hand a great deal of power to the administration.”
If a sitting senator or executive board member is cited under the University’s disciplinary code while sitting in office their case will not be heard by the Dean of Students but rather by the Judicial Hearing Board.
The Hearing Board has the ability to review a single instance which violates the disciplinary code but the dean of students remains the only person to have the ability to access student records.
This bill will take affect for next year’s elections, but sitting Senators and Executive Board members next semester will be subject to Judicial Board review.