On Monday, the Students’ Association Senate formed the Government Restructuring Committee, an ad hoc committee, to evaluate the current setup of the SA government as a whole.
“We want to begin working on restructuring very early,” Committee Chairperson, Deputy Speaker of the Senate and junior Pete Nabozny said. “In the past, restructuring efforts have failed because they were initiated too late. We hope to have a proposal ready for [the senate] at the beginning of February.”
The stated goal of the committee is “to improve the structure of government at UR. This could entail simply codifying the present changes to the system, slightly modifying the previous system or scrapping the current bylaws and constitution to create an entirely new student government.”
“The goal of the government and its officers is to represent and support the student body, not self-perpetuation,” senator and junior Danielle Friedman said while debating whether or not the committee should be formed.
“It is important that we continue to look for better ways to represent students.”
In order to be a member of the committee, one cannot be wedded to the current form of government. If people are overly protective of current branch’s authority and autonomy, it will be difficult to create changes, according to Friedman.
This year, the SA Senate and Cabinet have combined their committee efforts by sending representatives from both branches to meetings. This has allowed for more input, fostered a stronger relationship between the branches and increased productivity as more can be determined with two branches present at meetings, according to Nabozny.
However, none of these current changes are written into the bylaws or constitution of the SA government. In the future for example, if the SA President and Speaker of the Senate did not get along, it would be unlikely that such a strong relationship would exist.
“We need to address the long term problems with the government,” Nabozny said. “It is important to balance the subsidiary governments like class councils. Also, we need to look at why certain groups, like Fraternity Presidents’ Council isn’t part of the SA.”
The new committee will have the input from many of the current subsections of government on campus, including representatives from Senate, Cabinet, the All Campus Judicial Committee, class council members, hall council members, and students at large from the campus.
In addition to having weekly meetings, the committee members will consult many outside resources in order to have the most ideas possible. Consulting other universities to learn about their governance will be an integral part of the committee. Members will also work with UR administrators to get their input about the government.
“This committee is extremely important,” Speaker of the Senate and senior Alex Voetsch said. “The suggestions made by this committee and reviewed by the Senate as a whole will be the legacy of this Senate.”
“I’m a complete supporter of this committee,” SA President and senior Chris Calo said. “I have a lot of confidence in Pete. Many of the current changes implemented this year were suggested by him. We’re here to benefit the student body; we need to define the core goals and methods which will support that end.”
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