DormCon, Senate will live on

Restructuring plan fails second vote

The Dormitory Council voted yesterday against the proposed student government restructuring brought forth by Undergraduate Association President Vrajesh Y. Modi ’11 in late March. DormCon voted 57 percent in favor of 42 UAS 14.2, the Bill to Unify the Undergraduate Student Voice at MIT — 18 points below the amount required to pass and 11 points below the previous April 3 vote on the measure. The setback may end the potential for any dramatic UA changes in the near future.

Had the measure been passed in DormCon and the UA Senate, both bodies would have dissolved immediately after Modi signed the bill. In their place would have been a new UA Council, comprised of 20 representatives including dormitory presidents, and delegates from the Panhellenic Association, the Interfraternity Council, Living Group Council, and off-campus.

Because of the DormCon vote, the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Implementation of Potential Restructuring (CIPR) — a committee tasked last week to refine the bill — recommended postponing restructuring to a later date, as moving forward without DormCon’s approval would require substantial amendments to be passed. The ad-doc committee was dissolved at yesterday’s meeting.

No dormitory presidents provided specific feedback against the proposed overhaul, according to Rachel E. Meyer ’10, chair of CIPR. Meyer also said that no one displayed any specific opposition to the changes made by the CIPR, which addressed issues raised at the April 3 DormCon meeting. No suggestions were offered by DormCon as to what issues to focus on next in the restructuring process.

After CIPR proposed amendments to the restructuring plan, DormCon voted less in favor of the plan than they had over a week ago — 57 percent compared to the previous 68 percent, with 75 percent approval needed to pass. The proposed changes included allowing proxies to serve for dorm presidents on the council this semester and creating new UA committees to work on tasks previously handled by DormCon. These amendments were intended to ease the transition into the proposed Council.

Looking toward the future, the UA Senate will consider several options. Some senators spoke of establishing an Institute Committee to look at the matter — such a process would incorporate feedback from faculty as well as undergraduates. However, not all senators were in favor of this move, saying the two committees formed in the past month (CIPR and the UA Ad-Hoc Committee on Restructuring) incorporated enough feedback. Some also pointed out that Institute Committees have previously been formed to look at the subject, but most were not successful in facilitating any changes.

No concrete changes were voted on or established at the meeting. Aside from potential changes to internal Senate structure, an overhaul of the UA is unlikely this year.

“While the proposed new structure for the UA did not pass DormCon or the UA Senate today, I want to make sure these discussions on UA restructuring don’t die,” wrote Janet Li ’12, vice-chair of the Senate, in an email to the UA Senate Thursday night. “There are still a lot of problems with how the UA is structured. I think almost everyone agrees on this, and on the fact that it is beneficial to reevaluate it and try to come up with the best possible structure.”

The Senate currently has three remaining meetings on its schedule this spring.