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USG approves expansion of Honor Committee, senate amendment

The Undergraduate Student Government discussed two separate amendments for the Honor Committee Constitution and the USG Senate Constitution in their weekly meeting on April 16.

Honor Committee Chair Carolyn Liziewski ‘18 presented a proposal to amend the Honor Committee Constitution by expanding the membership of the Committee from 12 to 15 students. Liziewski emphasized that this amendment was necessary to reduce the burden on Honor Committee members working on existing cases.

“It has sort of become the norm now that students are working on two reports at a time, which when you add that to campus and academic commitments, is really an impossible task,” said Liziewski.

The three additional members to the Committee would include two freshman representatives. Liziewski indicated that increasing first-year representation would help build institutional memory.

“The earlier we can get a student on the committee at their time in Princeton, the more they learn about the Committee, and the better equipped they are to become a leader of the Committee," she explained.

Liziewski added that the amendment would take into effect immediately, with one of the new candidates being appointed next weekend and the other two being appointed next fall.

The Senate voted to approve the Honor Committee amendment.

Class of 2019 Senator Andrew Ma ‘19 presented a separate amendment to the Senate Constitution. The amendment would raise the threshold for the confirmation of Honor Committee members to a supermajority from a simple majority of the Senate. Ma said that given the impact the Committee has on student life, the change is critical.

“The Honor Code belongs to all of us, and it is important that we have a higher threshold for agreement to ensure that the members are very qualified and also in line with the student body’s opinion, which the USG represents,” said Ma.

Additionally, the amendment would also have the voting session for prospective Honor Committee members occur in an executive session. Only the overall voting tally, rather than each Senate member’s vote, would be made public. Ma indicated that this change would allow voting members to speak and vote freely without fear of retribution.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Senate constitutional amendment next week.

Student Groups Recognition Committee Co-Chairs Emily Chen ‘18 and Aaron Sobel ‘19 presented new student groups for Senate approval. Among the groups were Arch and Arrow, which aims to provide a space for poets to share and receive feedback for their work, and the Hecate Society, a student comprised support group for those experiencing grief.

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The Senate voted to approve all student groups.

U-Councilor Pritika Mehra ‘18 presented an update on the Coffee and Tea USG project. The event will occur on Tuesday, April 27 between 9 and 10:30 pm at Frist Campus Center, and will feature a table staffed by USG representatives and a whiteboard on which students can provide feedback on various USG projects. Students who provide feedback will receive a free bubble tea.

USG Treasurer Alison Shim ‘19 presented an update on Treasury projects, in which she stated that the Treasury Committee was hoping to make their budget more transparent. According to Shim, this would involve releasing a more detailed breakdown of the USG’s budget allocation, including spending on Senate projects, the Social Committee budget, and the USG office.

Additionally, the USG Senate voted to confirm Traci Mathieu ‘20 as the new Executive Secretary.