UA holds hearing ahead of overhaul

Constitution up for vote Thurs.

The Undergraduate Association (UA) held an open session yesterday evening to collect feedback and student input on a proposed student government restructuring. The Ad-Hoc Committee on the Implementation of Potential Restructuring (CIPR), which was created at the UA Senate meeting on April 4, met over the past week to hash out details on representation in a new UA Council and the transition process from the current UA structure. The Dormitory Council and the Senate are expected to vote on a measure to enact a new constitution — as recommended by CIPR — this Thursday.

As recommended last week by the first committee to consider UA President Vrajesh Y. Modi ’11’s proposed governance overhaul, the Council will have 20 representatives: 12 dormitory presidents, four Interfraternity Council representatives (including the IFC President), two Panhellenic Association representatives (including the Panhel President), the Living Group Council speaker, and an elected off-campus representative.

If the new constitution is passed on Thursday, DormCon and the Senate will cease to exist, the Council will take over immediately after the UA President signs 42 UAS 14.2, the Bill to Unify the Undergraduate Student Voice at MIT. The proposed constitution is included under 14.2. The measure failed when put up to a vote at DormCon on April 3, garnering only 68 percent approval — seven points shy of the required 75 percent of dormitory votes required to pass. Some dorm presidents and residents felt more communication between the UA, DormCon, students, and the administration was necessary before making important changes.

Next House President and UA Vice President-elect Alec C. Lai ’13 said that he felt most of the questions raised about the original proposal and its implementation have been addressed, and that his dorm may vote to approve it this week. Next voted 91 percent against the proposal on April 3.

According to Rachel E. Meyer ’10, CIPR chair and current off-campus senator, the transition to the new system will be eased by allowing current dorm presidents to appoint proxies to attend Council meetings in their place, since current dorm presidents were not elected with the expectation of serving on that body. IFC and Panhel will select their additional representatives through election processes internal to those organizations, and the current UA off-campus senator will become the new Council off-campus representative. Current UA executive officers — including president, vice president, chief of staff, secretary, and treasurer — will retain their positions.

CIPR also proposed several new UA committees and positions to replace functions previously handled by DormCon. The Dormitory Affairs Committee will address issues that only affect students living in dorms — much of what DormCon does today. The Dormitory Funding committee will allocate dorm tax funds for dormitory-only events and will be populated with representatives from tax-paying dorms. Finally, a UA assistant vice president for REX will organize centralized REX events, like the water war and REX guide printing. That job is currently handled by DormCon’s vice president for REX.

DormCon is also expected to determine how it will allocate its remaining funds this week. According to DormCon Treasurer Leonid Grinberg ’14, DormCon will have approximately $15,000 remaining in funds at the end of the term, after debts. Meyer said that DormCon may decide to give money back to the dorms it came from.

Rebecca Han contributed re-