Senate approves UA restructuring

Senate will dissolve by term’s end

The Senate of the Undergraduate Association voted unanimously to dissolve itself yesterday evening, a milestone in the months-long effort of the organization to substantially restructure itself.

A UA Council comprised of representatives from dormitories, the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Association (Panhel), and the Living Group Council (LGC), in addition to an off-campus representative, will replace the Senate as the core body of the UA next term.

Until this weekend, the UA’s restructuring proposal called for the presidents of those organizations to serve as representatives on the Council. On Sunday, UA President Allan E. Miramonti ’13 released a revised set of governing documents, outlining a system in which each constituency can decide for itself how to pick a representative to the UA Council, who may or may not be a president.

The revised UA Council Bylaws call for 12 dormitory representatives — one from each dorm — four from the IFC, three from Panhel, and one each for the LGC and off-campus students. The Dormitory Council (DormCon) will meet later this week to decide how they will pick representatives from the dormitories, according to Miramonti.

Senate will meet once more this term for their spring budget meeting before officially disbanding. The UA is planning to use IAP as a time to “transition” to the new government structure.

Earlier ideas about government restructuring, including a proposal championed by former UA President Vrajesh Y. Modi ’11, called for DormCon to make substantial changes to it’s own structure, effectively relinquishing some or all of its responsibilities to a larger UA. The proposal passed yesterday, however, called for no internal DormCon changes; it did stipulate, however, that DormCon decide how it would pick UA Council representatives before restructuring officially goes through.

The UA also nixed Article V of an earlier version of a new constitution, which described a “Dormitory Affairs Committee” and a “Dormitory Funding Committee,” which would take over responsibilities traditionally left to DormCon. Miramonti said in an email to the Senate that, “I do not feel we are yet ready to design a body to meet [dormitories’] needs,” adding that the UA plans to spend IAP and spring semester developing a “well designed dorm governance structure.”

“I plan to work with the dorm presidents on DormCon over IAP and January to better address their needs specifically,” wrote Miramonti in an email to The Tech. “It is clear that dorm governance structure is tricky, and I want to take the time to do it right.”

And though changes to DormCon may be on the horizon, “DormCon is not part of the current UA restructuring proposal,” wrote DormCon president Ellen B. McIsaac ’12 in an email to The Tech.

The restructuring process was “long and arduous,” said Leonid Grinberg ’14, a senator from East Campus, but he said that he’s “looking forward to the new structure.” Grinberg cited the Senate’s unanimous vote as a positive sign.

The Senate will not exist next semester, but current Senators have plans for staying involved with the UA. The UA’s committee structure, for instance, will remain the same, and some current senators will continue to work on those committees even after Senate dissolves. William F. Steadman ’12, the current Speaker of the Senate, will stay involved with the UA through his work on an Institute Committee.

The new UA Constitution will take effect on the last day of classes in the fall semester, but its final adoption will happen after ratification by the UA Council.

Anne Cai contributed reporting.