A proposed amendment to the USG constitution would change the relationship between the class councils and the Senate. The USG Senate debated the amendment, which would create a separation between the class governments and the Senate, making the two into separate and equal bodies, at its meeting on Sunday evening.
The proposed amendment would also mandate that the class governments be more transparent with their classmates.
Senate members debated whether the amendment was necessary. According to USG president Shawon Jackson ’15, the proposed constitutional changes would not force the class governments to do anything. Instead, he said, they would institutionalize a best practice for all classes.“I see a section about accountability, and then I see a section about structure, and to me they’re not related at all,” U-Council chair Elan Kugelmass ’14 said of the proposed text of the amendment. “For me, it doesn’t make sense why the class governments need a specific instruction in the article effecting them to be doing something they should have been doing all along.”
In order to be more transparent and accountable, Class of 2015 president Jon Ma explained that the class governments would disclose budget reports and semester reports of projects that the class governments are working on. The class governments would also host regular meetings where their classmates could give feedback.
“What I don’t understand is the necessity for a divorce between class governments and the Senate, and I don’t understand how this would improve the way things are done,” U-Councilor Mallory Banks ’16 said.
Mmegwa responded that the split in governmental power is a way of reflecting the fact that the class governments and the Senate represent the student body in different ways. Jackson added that it would get rid of the hierarchy between the Senate and councils.
The Senate will continue to discuss the issue at its next meeting on Nov. 17, when it may vote on the issue.
According to U-Councilor Zhan Okuda-Lim ’15, the other constitutional changes under consideration did not propose drastic changes, but would merely clear away some bureaucratic red tape by reflecting current USG practices.
Acknowledging the low number of students who have shown an interest in running for the USG executive offices in recent years, USG Senate members brainstormed ways to encourage more students to run in the upcoming elections. Interest was gauged by the number of students who attended an elections open house, chief elections manager Rachel Nam ’15 said.
According to the meeting agenda, one student has shown interest in running for president, two for vice president, one for treasurer, one for University Student Life Committee chair, two for Campus and Community Affairs chair, three for academics chair, one for social chair, one for Class of 2015 senator, two for Class of 2016 senator and 15 for Class of 2017 senator. Three students who attended the open houses didn’t specify which position interested them.
The official list of candidates will be released on Tuesday, Nam said.
The USG also discussed the “Beat YaleGate,” a tailgate it will host before next Saturday’s football game against Yale. The University Band and cheerleaders will perform, and students will be given body paint, temporary tattoos and other spirit items. Food will not be served.
Students will also be able to submit their names in a halftime competition with the opportunity to win $10,000.
The Student Groups Recognition Committee approved four new groups, committee chair Benny Wagstaff ’14 said. These include: Y&F Magazine, a new literary and artistic publication; Princeton Makers Collective, a hardware club; Princeton Steel Band, a steelpan playing group; and Princeton Robotics Club.