In its last session of the year, the lame-duck Student Assembly dealt mostly with structural and financial changes that will affect the next Assembly.
“The reason why the SA is not a popular body on campus is because we get so involved in policy and code reforms, which are not accessible to students,” senator Noah Kim ’13 said in opposition to a bill which would consolidate the Outreach and Student Life committees.
According to senator Ryan Ruzic J.D.’11, of the 79 bills that were passed by the SA this year, 32 percent of those dealt with code changes, while another 10 percent were declarative bills on the SA’s stance on issues.
Senator Dallen McNerney ’14, the sponsor of the Better Consolidation Act, argued that the Student Life and Outreach committees should be consolidated in order to make them larger and better represent the senate opinions.
“Committees that are not representative of the senators’ opinions is not a reason to make them bigger, but to put people with more diverse opinions on them,” Kim said.
The bill failed by a 13-6 vote.
The Executive also sought to decrease their bureaucracies by consolidating the Student Rights and Policy committees. Two years ago, the Executive staff consisted of 87 people, while 37 people composed the branch this year.
“People who are defending student rights need to know policy background,” senator Mike Young ’11 said. “In this committee, you make a lot of enemies, so know-how is important.”
The bill did not pass and was forced back into committee amid objections to the consolidation and delegation of responsibilities of the Student Rights Committee.
Regarding finances, the Publications Council Validations Act, which would force individual publications to ask for money from the $50,000 Publication Council reserve before appealing to the SA reserves, passed by unanimous consent.
“I commend senator Ruzic for making the Publications Council more just,” Young said.
Ruzic stated that while the bill is not groundbreaking, it was necessary, especially since the Publications Council reserves were significantly larger than that of the SA, who is also experiencing financial woes.
“I am trying to earmark more money so that we [the SA] has money,” Kim said.
Regarding recently passed bills, a timeline is being generated for provisions for the Permanent Safety Act, which implements student disability in those buildings with 24-hour computer labs. Under the Student Health Act III, free STI testing, including HIV testing, will be available to students next year.
The last session also highlighted some senators for their accomplishments over the past year, including senator Mike Young ’11 for passing the most bills, for which he was praised by Ruzic.