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SG votes on constitutional amendments, discusses finances

From left to right: College of Arts and Sciences Student Government Sens. Jessica Zheng, Amos Mwaura, Savannah Majarwitz and Matthew Yee present the Senate Outreach Program Proposal, which was voted on and passed Monday night. SOFIA KOYAMA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University’s Student Government voted Monday on proposed amendments to the SG constitution and heard from Vice President of Finance Hector Meneses about SG finances.

The meeting began with votes on amendments and proposals heard at last week’s meeting.

The Senate Outreach Program reviewed and clarified their proposed by-law amendment that aimed to add the line, “Senators shall engage the student body whenever possible, specifically establishing and maintaining relations with student organizations throughout the year of their time in Student Government” to Article III, Section I, Line 9 of the senate by-laws.

During debate on the amendment, Nehemiah Dureus, SG director of communications, motioned to “divide the question” into two proposals, separating the original by-law amendment from a proposal to have senators meet with two student organizations each term to get them to support the Spring Concert by a Nov. 8 deadline.

The senate by-law amendment was passed with an amendment to wording, replacing “the year of their time in student government” with “their term.” The second half of the proposal was passed as well.

Daniel Collins, a senior from the College of Fine Arts, said that he thought splitting the proposal made the voting process easier.

“It’s easier to deal with things piecewise rather than dealing with them as a whole,” Collins said. “Last week, I remember I asked for clarification on it because their presentation was kind of muddled, and you could tell as they were going through that they were still struggling to define which part belonged to which [section of the proposal].”

Senators then voted on amendments also presented last week pertaining to the cabinet, E-board and the judicial commission. All amendments were passed.

Samantha Casas, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said that although she thinks the amendment discussions could have been more concise, she understands the importance of good discussion about the proposals.

“If we just automatically approve everything that came on the floor without discussion, it would only create more issues in the long run,” Casas said. “I think we’re trying our best to represent our constituents by asking questions when things aren’t clear and amending things when we do not think they will suit the future.”

After the constitutional amendments, senators voted to have SG endorse the Yes on 3 campaign, which supports a ballot initiative to prohibit gender identity-based discrimination in public spaces. The proposal was heard last week, but was not voted on then due to time constraints.

SG President Devin Harvin then gave his presidential address, where he announced that the Spring Concert would be held on April 5 and spoke about the event’s proposed budget.

“We are not asking for clubs to financially contribute at all,” Harvin said. “We just want their support. By that, we mean posting on social media, we want you to volunteer to be there and help out.”

Senators then heard from a representative from the Class Gift campaign for the class of 2019 asking seniors to give back to a club that has impacted them throughout their time at BU.

Polen Ural, vice chair of the the Class Gift Committee, stressed that seniors should donate to clubs that played a crucial role in their time at BU to make a “statement about their legacy” at the school.

“We want you to give back to something that meant something to you while you were at BU,” Ural said.

Meneses then gave a presentation on the student government budget in order to give the senators a better understanding of SG’s finances. Previous administrations have only disclosed how much money was left in their budget, he said.

“Just posting a number on a board and saying this is how much money we have left doesn’t tell a story about how we’re spending our money,” Meneses said, “and that is something I and the rest of our E-board is looking to improve.”

In an effort to keep SG finances as transparent as possible, Meneses and the executive board have taken on the project of analyzing past financial transactions of SG, he said.

“It is a very long, very diligent process because there is so much information,” Meneses said. “This is something that no other organization has done before. Our job is to be as transparent as possible, being honest on the financial transactions.”

After the financial presentation, Dureus spoke to the senate about the importance of voting in the midterm elections, promoting an organization called TurboVote which makes getting an absentee ballot easier for students.

An informal vote was held to ask whether senators supported the work of TurboVote and whether they would help get the word out about voting in the upcoming election. Support was unanimous.

I’ve been working with the dean of students on this because we’ve been trying to get out the vote, because the election is coming up and it’s critical,” Dureus said. “America will not be the same after the election no matter how it goes, and it would be nice if the youngest people in America, who will be impacted by this, has a say in what direction we’re going to get into.”

Lexi Matthews contributed reporting.

Disclaimer: Lillian Ilsley-Greene, a Daily Free Press campus news associate, is a campus organizer for Yes on 3.

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