ASG meeting ends with code changes

Michael Gsovski

Associated Student Government narrowly voted to support restructuring the organization in a Senate session that lasted four hours Wednesday night.

In a vote that required a two-thirds majority, or 22 senators, ASG voted 24-7-2 to amend its code. None of the changes will take effect until a postponed vote on corresponding amendments to ASG’s constitution takes place.

The changes in the code would create two new offices, a vice president who would be second-in-command and a director of human resources. The reorganization was originally proposed as a constitutional amendment, but after opposition from some in the Senate, particularly the rules committee, many of the changes were placed in the ASG code Sunday. Missing from the new code are the new positions of research and development director, who would have helped other directors develop ideas for projects.

The changes to the amendments were a direct result of disagreements during last week’s Senate session and a subsequent open forum on the constitution, ASG President Neal Sales-Griffin said.

“After meeting with a number of senators and the rules committee, we felt it would be best to leave out these substantive changes to keep the constitution sacred,” the SESP junior said.

The meeting was marked by heated exchanges between opponents and supporters of the amendments.

Weinberg junior Mark Crain, who finished second to Sales-Griffin in April’s presidential race, said adding new officials would create an untested bureaucracy that would make it harder to get things done.

“We are adding layers of bureaucracy,” Crain said. “There has been nothing positive that has come of these recommendations yet, and if nothing good has come of it, I don’t see why we are codifying it.”

The positions continued an ASG trend of making internal reforms rather than increasing its efforts, said Weinberg senior Cassie Witten, the senator for A&O Productions and a Student Activities Finance Board account executive.

“People need to work within what we already have,” the Weinberg senior said. “This doesn’t require us to add new positions, it requires the positions that we have to be re-energized.”

Executive Vice President Vikram Karandikar said the new positions were legitimate requests from overstretched committee chairmen who needed to lessen their workload in areas, such as talking to the university.

“This is a call for help from each of the four campus-wide elected officials,” the McCormick sophomore said. “These are committees that need help, that need somebody in a stable role.”

Interfraternity Council Senator Jesse Garfinkel said the changes would not increase bureaucracy and were necessary.

“It’s not going to change our budget, it’s just going to bring more people into the fold,” the Weinberg sophomore and former Senate speaker said. “A wise man said, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Well, ASG is broke, and we should fix it.”

Over the course of the meeting, several minor changes were made to proposals for the code and constitution. As a result, the code now stipulates that the vice president is a separate branch of the executive board, rather than a member of its cabinet. If the constitutional amendment is passed as is, the vice president may need to be elected by a campus-wide election rather than being chosen by the Senate.

As the meeting closed, some suggested holding another session next week rather than face the prospect of having the rules committee “reconcile” the changes in the code with the existing constitution.

“If (Speaker of the Senate) Jack (Eichorst) and the senators and the rules committee deem it the best course to go about this, then it’ll happen,” Sales-Griffin said. “It’s all about what the people want.”

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