Checks and balances ensure that one governmental body does not have too much power. It is hypocritical that the Students’ Association Senate, UR’s law-making body, does not follow its own rules.
The senate, which makes policies that all students are expected to follow, has shown complete disregard for its own rules and for the decision by the All Campus Judicial Council.
The only way to restore confidence in the student government is to disband senate and restructure the SA.
In the case “Gulati and Mallach v. SA Senate,” heard by the ACJC on March 2, the ACJC ruled that the spring senate election was “grossly flawed” and void. It stated that all seats won in the election were to be rescinded and that a new election must be held.
According to the official constitution and bylaws of the SA, the student senate does not have the power to reverse or alter the decisions made by ACJC. The senate, however, has attempted just that, and, by doing so, has completely destroyed any shred of credibility it once had.
On Monday night, the senate held a rare closed-door meeting with those students whose seats had been rescinded, completely ignoring ACJC.
This “executive session” called by Speaker of the Senate and Take Five Scholar Ashley Conner did more than simply go against the ACJC — it violated the constitution in other ways.
As mandated in Robert’s Rules of Order and the senate’s constitution, they must have a certain percentage of its members present, otherwise known as a quorum. Senate, however, did not have quorum at Monday’s meeting. By the ACJC ruling, the other attendees of the meeting were not senators.
Since the senate seats were rescinded according to the ruling, no official meeting could be held. Some senators pointed out that they could not discuss having a new election unless they had quorum, and this is true. Since no new election has been held yet, the “old” senators still hold the seats and should be the ones addressing this matter.
This lack of quorum would not in itself be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that the senate treated the vote as official — each of the nullified senators had a vote that they were not allowed to use.
Senate’s utter disregard for the ACJC ruling not only sets a bad example for students, it also sends them a message. By acting independently, senate is saying that the rules of the student government they are a part of are not important enough to abide by.