Students to vote next week on candidates, referendums

After a week of campaigning by candidates, Student Government Association (SGA) election polls will open Tuesday, April 1 at noon, giving students the chance to enter their votes for the offices of president and executive vice president, as well as their representation in the Undergraduate House of Representatives or the Graduate Student Senate.

In addition to listing the names of the candidates running for office for which the student may vote, next week’s election ballot will also contain three referendums proposed by the SGA.

The polls will remain open until Friday, April 4, at 4 p.m., and the results of the election will be announced Friday at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Commons.

The biggest proposed change would create a new judicial body known as the Joint Judiciary Cabinet (JJC) that would oversee decisions made by the Undergraduate and Graduate Judiciary Cabinets.

“The reason we need to have a Joint Judiciary Cabinet is because we have a joint legislature,” said Kaitlyn Frazier, a second-year Biomedical Engineering major and BME representative in UHR.

Because the majority of SGA’s decisions are joint allocations or resolutions made by both the UHR and the GSS, there is no one body with jurisdiction to hear appeals over these decisions.

“Under our current appeals process, decisions can be appealed once for the House and once for the Senate, and if those two decisions differ there’s no means of reconciling them,” said Anu Parvatiyar, undergraduate student body president.

The proposed JJC would be formed as needed. It would be composed of justices from the UJC and GJC, with the number determined by the proportion of the student activity fees paid by undergraduate and graduate students. Both existing bodies would maintain their authority to preside over cases involving only undergraduate or graduate students.

“The Office of Student Integrity can also use [the JJC], as they often use our panels, as a student conduct panel for various things, for disciplinary cases that refer to both graduates and undergraduates,” Parvatiyar said.

A second proposed amendment would clarify wording in a line of the undergraduate constitution requiring a two-thirds vote of UHR’s entire membership to amend bylaws.

“We felt the current wording was ambiguous, and could lead to an interpretation requiring only two-thirds of the members present…If our documents are not clearly and concisely worded, then ultimately our decreased efficiency and lack of transparency becomes a disservice to the student body,” Frazier said, adding that because the bylaws form the core of how student government works, any changes that are made to them should be done very carefully.

The third referendum to appear on the ballot will add titles to the articles and sections of the constitution.

“At some point or another during our revisions we lost the text in our headings which clarified what each article and sections contained. This amendment will recreate the titles, making it much easier to find information in our constitution,” Frazier said.

Frazier introduced the referendum to append headings, while the plan to create a joint judiciary cabinet has been in the works for several years.

Students will be provided with the full text of the potential revisions to the constitution when voting.

If no candidate in the executive elections receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election will be scheduled the following week between the two highest vote-getters, following the same schedule but pushed forward a week. The process will repeat the following week if neither candidate receives a majority yet again.