UA fails to ratify constitution and bylaws, again

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: This brief incorrectly states that Michael E. Plasmeier ’13 of Baker House held a proxy vote for Brian Luque ’12. Plasmeier is the current president of Baker — Luque’s term expired last month — and voted as a UA Council member. This brief also incorrectly names Jonte D. Craighead ’13’s middle initial.

UA fails to ratify constitution and bylaws, again

The Undergraduate Association failed for a second time Tuesday evening to approve its core governing documents. With only 14 representatives of the 19-member UA Council (the council should be made up of 21 people, but Bexley did not select a representative, and off-campus is not yet represented) present at their second-ever meeting, only a couple of dissenting votes or abstentions were able to kill motions to pass the UA Constitution and the UA Bylaws.

The UA needs to ratify a new constitution and set of bylaws in order to formalize their new government structure, in which a Council of dormitory and FSILG representatives replaces the UA Senate. Instead of direct election of senators, Council members are selected by a process internal to their constituencies. Each dormitory is represented by a single representative, the Interfraternity Council by four, the Panhellenic Association by three, the Living Group Council by one, and off-campus by one.

Last week, at the Council’s inaugural meeting, a constitutional vote was delayed to allow members to propose amendments and further review the governing documents. But at Tuesday’s meeting, some Council representatives said they had insufficient time to review and discuss proposed amendments, or were not told of them until shortly before the meeting started. Among those were Ryan Normandin ’13 of MacGregor House (also a Tech opinion columnist), Jonte M. Craighead ’13 (holding a proxy vote for Next House’s Alec C. Lai ’13), and Michael E. Plasmeier ’13 of Baker House (holding a proxy vote for Brian Luque ’12).

Still, a majority of Council members present supported passage of the constitution, saying that the proposed amendments were mostly minor and could be changed later if need be. But with 13 votes — two-thirds of the full Council — needed to approve constitutional changes, only nine voted “yes.” In a similar manner, passage of the UA Bylaws failed with 12 in favor.

The Council did successfully adopt a new meeting schedule on Tuesday, agreeing to convene once every two weeks — instead of the Senate’s traditional weekly schedule — once the constitution is approved. Until then, weekly meetings will continue under the UA’s temporary constitution.

Rachel E. Meyer ’10’s bid for off-campus representative was killed, at least for the time being, on constitutional grounds. According to the temporary constitution, Council representatives cannot be appointed unless they are able to serve full-year terms. Meyer cannot, since she will graduate this spring.

Notably, the Council was not able to tackle its final — and perhaps most important — action item for the evening. After slightly more than an hour of constitutional wrangling, the Council adjourned and agreed to deal with that final item, “Set Common Mission/Vision for Council,” next time.

—Ethan A. Solomon