The University of Kansas Student Senate’s full assembly met to discuss a funding bill as well as five other bills on Wednesday.
The funding bill will be used to cater food for the Muslim Student Associate. It passed 39-0 in the assembly.
After being passed through the student councils, both the Reformat Representation Bill and the bill to amend student senate constitution Title III Article I Section 4 were presented to the full assembly.
The Reformat Representation bill will reformat “the representation within the Senate away from the previous system of class divisions plus each school or college within the University to a system based purely off class groupings and at the same time reducing the maximum number of Senators,” according to the presented bill.
Angela Davis, student senate policy director, and Nathaniel Garcia, internal affairs director, wrote both bills in hopes to change how the Senate operates. Each class year will have a total of 10 seats, whereas graduate students will have five.
“No one will lose their seats if this passes,” Garcia said. “So there will be no new elections. This will take effect on the next regular election coming up in spring.”
Abdullah Al-Awhad, chair of the student senate rights and affairs council, attempted to make an opposing speech to the bill but was denied the opportunity. Al-Awhad said via text that this was indicative of a bigger problem.
“Members motion to vote so they can end debate, rubber-stamp legislation, and go home,” Al-Awhad said. “Almost no one in this year’s Student Senate has any regard for the importance of this body’s role in framing university policy and allocating federal money. This is sad because many of us are paid to attend these meetings, and we’re taking this responsibility very lightly.”
The Reformat Representation bill failed 21-15 with one abstention. Since this was presented as an amendment to the Student Senate constitution, the bill required 2/3rds of senators to vote for it.
According to the bill, the “Bill to Amend Student Senate Constitution Title III Article I Section 4 to give StudEx the power to discipline Student Council Executive Members” will be used to keep council members accountable.
“At the end of the day, this invokes a necessary discussion amongst councils and the student's assembly about how we create accountability for one another in this space,” Garcia said.
With the new bill, to remove an officer the Student Executive Committee can vote by 2/3rds majority to remove any officer of a committee if they believe the officer in question is not “fulfilling their responsibilities.”
When this bill was presented, Al-Awhad wanted to express his opposing views but was once again swiftly ignored.
“Councils are entrusted to write and pass legislation, and they have the full authority to fail it if deemed necessary. Likewise, they should be entrusted to remove their own officers,” Al-Awhad said. “Giving that power to the executive branch is a dangerous precedent that breaks the principles of separation of powers, which have long been a part of the U.S. government structure.”
The bill passed 28-6 with two absentations, beating the 2/3rds majority required to pass the constitutional amendment.
The next bill was to change the policy director job to the outreach director and give the position new job duties. Currently, Davis is the Student Senate Policy Director, but this bill will change the title to the Outreach Director.
“[Davis] has had a lot of her job description basically stripped from her during successive rewrites of the Constitution and changes,” Garcia said. “What we're going to be doing is we're going to change her position officially to the outreach director and give her a new job of trying to get the Student Senate’s name out there.”
The bill passed 39-0.
The next bill on the agenda was a bill to amend the student senate constitution funding guidelines. The amendment removes restrictions on food spending for student groups.
The bill also passed 39-0.
The last bill of the night was a bill to amend the student senate constitution funding guidelines. The amendment allows groups to request up to $1,500 worth of funding, up from $1,000.
“This allows them to have the entire quest filled in full but also make sure that our funding reserve is being utilized appropriately,” Ffund Ddevelopment Ddirector Zakariya Ahmed said.
The bill passed 36-0.
KU Student Senate’s full assembly will meet again on Nov. 16, while committees will meet next week on Nov 9.