During the first Student Assembly senate meeting of the spring 2018 semester, Honor Council member Jacob Nelson ’18 presented a proposal that, if approved, would bar students from serving in elected SA roles and on Honor Council concurrently.
According to Nelson, because students who run for Honor Council are not allowed to truly campaign, and because students who vote are only presented with candidates’ names and how they responded to specific questions, it would be unfair to allow those who are currently serving in SA to run for positions on Honor Council. This is because students are more likely to recognize and be influenced by the names of those in SA’s senate.
Some senators questioned whether or not this policy change would apply to those who are already in Honor Council and SA, and whether or not they would be eligible to run in Honor Council’s upcoming election Wednesday, Jan. 31.
In response to this question, Nelson said that it is not clear if the policy change would allow current members of either organization to be grandfathered in, but that he recommended those currently serving to pick between Honor Council and SA.
“There are two options,” Nelson said. “It might not be fair to announce now for people who are planning to run, so we could institute the rule next year. … But people who are in SA and planning to run for SA should choose between one or the two, and should either resign from Honor Council or not run for SA at that point. … I don’t think it makes sense to run for Honor Council now if you are already in SA and you know you are going to do that, because you are going to step down later down the road. It doesn’t make sense to do it now just because you can.”
Chair of the Senate Alaina Shreves ’18 said that in order to respect the relationship between SA and Honor Council, she believed that the senate should support Honor Council’s request to change this policy, particularly because the change would impact Honor Council most.
“Our code and constitution don’t have anything in them about the Honor Council,” Shreves said. “I still believe Honor Council should be the one that moves forward, and we should approve it by SA. I just don’t think that this is something that we can decide as senators, it is not affecting us.”
Sen. Brendan Boylan ’19 said he agreed with Shreves because he didn’t think anyone could fulfill the requirements and expectations of both roles at the same time. He said that he personally felt he could not do both jobs at the same time, while maintaining the necessary quality of work.
“I genuinely don’t believe you can do justice to both roles if you are in both roles at the same time,” Boylan said. “That is just my personal opinion. … Those are both two very large and powerful roles on this campus.”
In terms of what action SA could take moving forward, senators questioned whether or not potential policy change barring simultaneous terms would require the senate to pass legislation.
According to Associate Director of Student Leadership Development Trici Fredrick M.Ed. ’05, who advises SA, passing such legislation would not be necessary.
“The question is, for Honor Council, if you want to make a mutual decision that if you run for SA positions that you can also not run for Honor Council, that is your decision about your code,” Fredrick said. “Honor Council is making the decision that if you run for Honor Council, you can’t run for SA. You have to approve any changes to your bylaws, which is why [Nelson] is coming to you to say that you have to approve the change. You could choose to amend your bylaws too.”
Fredrick said that it was up to the senators to decide if they would like to codify this change in policy as well, but they first must make the decision whether or not they support approving Honor Council’s code change. According to her then, these are two separate questions.
Also at this week’s meeting:
• Sen. Brendan Boylan ’19 introduced The Second Annual Sankofa Gala Act. If passed, the bill would allocate $8,270 for the Gala, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 24. This money will cover travel and booking experiences for Nigerian entertainer Tolu Ogunmefun as well as catering, table décor and promotional materials. According to Boylan, the Gala has previously been a successful way of celebrating Black History Month.
• Sen. Jack Bowden ’18 introduced The New Roommate Notification Resolution. If passed, the resolution would request that Residence Life incorporate a policy to ensure that in the instance of a room change, all affected roommates and resident assistants are notified.
• Class of 2021 President David DeMarco ’21 introduced the Second Valentine’s Day STI Subsidy Act. If passed, the bill would allocate $5,007 to subsidize STI testing in the month of February. In previous years, this bill has corresponded with an event on Valentine’s Day where approximately 100 students receive completely subsidized testing. However, in order to comply with requests of the Student Health Center, the bill would create four smaller events in February, and 25 students would receive subsidized testing at each event.