Honor Council approves SA compromise

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November 10, 2009

2:13 AM

The amendment to change the composition of the nominating committee of the College of William and Mary’s Honor Council was passed unanimously by the council Sunday.

The amendment added an additional at-large student to the committee, increasing its composition from five to six. Now, students will be removed from the ballot if five out of the six members vote to do so.

The structure of the Honor Council’s nominating committee has been the source of considerable controversy over the past few weeks.

The council had previously rejected an amendment presented in the form of a Student Assembly Referendum to change the vote needed to bar a student from running for the Honor Council.

The referendum called for a unanimous rather than a four out of five vote to prevent a student’s name from appearing on the ballot for Honor Council.

After the Honor Council shot down the referendum, members of both the council and the SA met and discussed the current compromise.

After the most recent amendment had been summarized, the council moved quickly to a vote. Only two members of the council spoke during the pre-voting discussion.

“[The amendment] is a good chance and a compromise to make a student voice equal to a council voice,” Will Perkins ’11 said.

Honor Council Chair Bailey Thomson ’10 expressed her happiness that the issue had been resolved.

“I know we have talked about this a lot,” she said. “I am glad it passed. I do think this is a good step.”

Several members of the SA were present for the vote.

“I am really happy that [the amendment] passed, and I think that it shows that our organizations can work together,” SA Senator Betty Jeanne Manning ’12 said to the council after the vote.

SA Vice President Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 said he felt the same.

“I think its great that they at least did something,” Ruzic said. “Something that comes out of adding another at-large student to the committee is that the additional at-large student can allow someone to stay on the ballot.”

While the compromise passed, the SA and the council must now determine how the at-large students will be nominated to the committee.

The council bylaws do not describe how the students should be chosen, but traditionally the decision has been left up to the SA.

With the current changes to the committee, both the SA and the council have the opportunity to make changes to their codes. The council may add the selection process to their bylaws, and the SA could change how the body chooses the at-large students.

Thomson proposes that the SA executive nominate one student and have the SA senate nominate the other student as an option.

However, Thomson remains adamant that the SA will make the final selection of the at-large students.

The Honor Council’s next meeting will be Sunday at 9:15 p.m. It is open to the public.

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