George Mason Law School

With great power

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October 28, 2009

11:10 AM

Your Student Assembly passed the Virginia Gazette Act and the Continued Influenza Prevention Act during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The Virginia Gazette Act allocates up to $700 from the Consolidated Reserve for the delivery of 300 newspapers every Saturday for the remainder of the academic year excluding breaks, which amounts to 16 Saturdays.

The Virginia Gazette is not a very good paper, but the SA is getting a pretty sweet deal here — paying something like $0.13 an issue. For that price, it’s worth it just to see what the Gazette has to say regardless of the quality of their journalism.

The Continued Influenza Prevention Act allocates $3,500 from the consolidated reserve to subsidize 125 flu shots for undergraduates today in the Sadler Center (hurry!) and 50 for graduate students tomorrow at the Law School. I am always in support of flu shot bills; I love them. They help students.

The SA also voted down the Cooperative Honor Council Reform Act, which strongly encouraged the Honor Council to honor student support for reform by considering a compromise regarding the rules pertaining to the Council’s nominating committee.

The SA has been talking about Honor Council a lot this semester and I wanted to wait to see how the Council reacted to attempts at changing their bylaws before chiming in. On Sunday night, the Honor Council voted down changing how their nominating committee works, clearly demonstrating that they took great offense to the SA trying to change their bylaws.

It’s hard for me to say I approve of this bill’s proposal, since I would be in favor of just eliminating the Honor Council altogether. As it stands now the Honor Council is a fairly autonomous organization that can basically do as it pleases regardless of student opinion.

All I can say is that students should be aware of whom they elect to Honor Council and use every opportunity available to tell the Honor Council that it is imperative that they be a more transparent organization. Why does an administrator have any right to say who can and cannot run for Honor Council? Why is there only one at-large student present on the nominating committee?

The Honor Council itself is the only group with the power to change Honor Council bylaws which means that the only way to change those bylaws is to elect students sympathetic to reform.

While the greatest harm that the SA can do to students is waste their money, the Honor Council suspends and expels students. This year’s Honor Council elections will prove infinitely more important than SA elections as I’m sure reform with be at the forefront of debate.

If you care at all that an organization of students with close ties to the administration is reticent to become more egalitarian, please run. While elected students in the SA debate purchasing newspapers, elected students on the Honor Council are making decisions that can potentially ruin someone’s future.

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