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Student Government discusses senator accountability, SAO Reforms, confirms senate chair

Boston University Student Government discussed an endorsement of possible changes to the Student Activities Office and constitutional amendments that would automatically remove inactive senators from office in a meeting Monday night.

Student Body President Dhruv Kapadia speaks at StuGov’s Monday meeting. StuGov discussed possible endorsement of SAO changes, constitutional amendments that would remove inactive senators and reconfirmed senate chair Hannah Dworkin. HUI-EN LIN/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The first bill presented was a potential endorsement of an SAO reform initiative that would seek to clarify deadlines and updates, open access to room bookings, create a way to navigate funding requests and more.

The bill would serve to “make [SAO] more accessible, navigable, and helpful for both new and existing student organizations” as “the [SAO] is essential to the creation, survival, and success of student organizations at [BU].”

“A lot of the criticisms we got were — I mean, I would hesitate to even call them criticism,” Senator Jack McGinn, who proposed the bill, said. “Some of them were just that SAO was kind of thinking about doing some of these things already, and we kind of said, ‘Okay, here’s some more specific guidelines for those.’”

Other student organizations, including the BIPOC Mental Health Collective, BU Prison Outreach and It’s On Us, among others, had already endorsed the bill.

StuGov endorsed the proposed changes with 28 votes.

Chairs of the Rules Committee Tommie Lee and Nick Kulda presented an omnibus bill of amendments to be voted on next week.

Lee and Kulda proposed the dissolution of the now-obsolete Election Oversight Committee, a change in the management of Senate Chair elections to avoid conflicts of interest and a rule to improve senator accountability, “by specifying that missing two unexcused or four excused absences from Senate Sessions will lead to automatic removal from office.”

Discussions for the amendments were sparked after Senate Chair Hannah Dworkin, noticing absent senators earlier this year, requested a judicial review regarding how and when senators could be removed from office.

“If people don’t show up for like two months straight, the only way that I can remove them and hire someone who wants to be in that position is to do a full-fledged impeachment process, which is ridiculous,” Dworkin said. “That’s embarrassing. It’s a waste of all of our time.”

The new process would automatically unenroll senators from the ledger after that series of absences, clarifying currently unclear standards for automatic removal.

“If you’re missing four meetings, if there’s a valid excuse there that’s like bereavement or illness or something like that, I don’t think other senators would be worried about [it],” Dworkin said.

Senator Jad Marrouche proposed an amendment that would allow the Senate Chair to retain a senator in the event they exceed the number of allowed absences.

The amendment was approved with 30 votes, although none of the amendments themselves have been voted into action. The constitutional amendments will be voted on next week as senators are given time to think on the bill.

The meeting continued with senate chair elections for the following year. Dworkin, who served as Senate Chair this year and Vice Chair the previous year, was the only candidate.

The Senate Chair runs senate meetings, helps create the agendas and, according to Dworkin, “really dictates the environment of the Senate.”

Dworkin listed various Senate successes from the past year in her platform, including the creation of LGBTQIA+ Center, a wellness days initiative and a distribution of over $12,000 in funding to BU student organizations.

The cornerstone of her campaign was continuity, a common theme for this election cycle, with this year’s e-board also elected to lead next year’s student government.

She was confirmed as Senate Chair with 28 votes.

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