Campus, News

StuGov passes senator accountability amendment

bu stugov meeting
The Boston University Student Government bulletin board. BU StuGov Senate discussed an amendment to the StuGov constitution, which would aim to hold senators accountable for representing their constituents and clearly define the key structural elements of the legislative branch, during a Monday evening meeting. HAIYI BI/DFP STAFF

The Senate for Boston University Student Government spent over 64 minutes discussing an amendment to the StuGov constitution in what Justice Samantha Casas, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, called “the most decorum-esque and properly run” constitutional debate. 

Amendment 010 seeks to hold senators accountable for representing their constituents and defines key structural elements of the legislative branch through describing and defining their roles and responsibilities.

Initially, the amended bylaws stated that “senators shall frequently engage with the student body, specifically establishing and maintaining relations with student organizations throughout.” 

Senator and CAS senior Savannah Majarwitz proposed changes to the bill that would require senators to “table” — an activity in which representatives speak to students about StuGov around a table in an effort to connect with their constituents.

“Our set of requirements are supposed to be talking to our constituents on a regular basis … A lot of us would be in violation of that requirement,” Majarwitz said. “We need to make sure that’s in our bylaws.”

Senator and CAS freshman Jacob Aznavoorian said requiring senators to table could be a limiting factor given many time constraints.

“I wasn’t able to [table] last semester or this semester, not because I don’t want to but because I’m stuck with my schedule, because I have work-study or because I have classes, so I can’t physically be there,” he said. 

The conversation evolved into a discussion about how the proposed amendments define tabling, and how tabling could be improved in the future. 

“You could very easily go and just stand out in Marsh Plaza and ask people that walk by what they think about StuGov,” said Senator Bella Newell, a junior in CAS and Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. “I don’t think that we would need to sign up in any way for that.”

Majarwitz’s amendment — which only strongly recommends that senators table, and that if they can not, to seek an alternative with the senate chair — passed with 27 votes. 

Aznavoorian brought the discussion to the role of the Rules Committee — defined in the amended by-laws as an institution that would “continuously review and revise all standing rules and procedures” across StuGov.

The term “revise” sparked an approximately 15-minute debate, as senators argued it would allow the Rules Committee — which has no voting power — to revise college government constitutions.

“That’s an overreach from the At-Large BU Student Government body into a college governing body that has its own discretion over its own rules that will not be accomplished,” Aznavoorian said in his explanation of why he preferred the word “advise” over “revise.”

Rules Committee Co-Chair Johnson Peow said the change to “advise” would “would essentially render the Rules Committee useless.”

After consulting Dictionary.com and the Judicial Committee, StuGov voted to change the wording to “continuously advise.”

Amendment 010 will come into effect after this year’s commencement, May 23. 

The meeting concluded with the endorsement of StuGov’s partnership with Health Promotion and Prevention’s “BU Does the Marathon” for students to participate in marathon-related activities in a “substance free area.”

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