By Amanda Riddle
Arizona Daily Wildcat January 22, 1997
ASUA to amend constitution
The Associated Students Undergraduate Senate is expected to pass a new constitution tonight after finishing debate on the number of senate seats the proposed constitution will mandate.
The proposed constitution, which would take effect in the 1997-98 academic year, outlines an increase from eight to 12 student senators. But several senators said they are concerned about the size of the increase.
"I think Sen. Ryan Anderson was correct when he said (during last week's senate meeting) the jump from eight to 12 senators was too much," Sen. Maile Weigele said.
It will be hard to get all 12 senators to the weekly meetings, she said.
Sen. Chadd Garcia agreed that an increase of four seats was too much.
"I thought it would be best to have 10 senators and take some small steps instead of a big one," Garcia said.
Garcia said he would like to see the senate seats increase slowly through amendments to the constitution in the upcoming years.
Davidson said he felt attendance will not be a problem with 12 senators because there is going to be more for senators to do and there will be increased accountability and responsibility under the new constitution.
Under the proposed constitution, the senate would be overseen by an executive vice president. Currently, no one directly supervises the senate.
But besides the issue of the number of senate seats, there are also questions over the need for faculty input in the senate.
The proposed constitution states that two faculty/staff members will sit on the senate and exercise full voting rights and privileges, but some people have said faculty members should not have a vote on the student governing body.
Under the current constitution, no faculty member has voting rights in the senate, although there are seven student seats on the 60-seat Faculty Senate.
"I think it would be a good idea to have faculty senators to get their input, but I don't think they should have a vote," Weigele said.
Garcia said he would like to have one faculty senator serve as an ex-officio officer. An ex-officio officer is a non-voting position.
"I would like to keep the faculty insight there, but I want to keep the vote with the students," he said.
Jeffrey Warburton, presiding officer of the Faculty Senate, agreed that faculty members should not have voting power in the Undergraduate Senate.
"ASUA issues are student-oriented while the Faculty Senate is an academic senate, and we need the student representation," Warburton said.
In addition to changing the structure of the Undergraduate Senate, the proposed constitution also changes the way legislation passes through ASUA. Currently, legislation the senate passes must also be approved by the Central Coordinating Council.
The council is comprised of the Associated Students president, the two vice-presidents, the senate chairperson and two senators. The council, however, would be eliminated next year in the proposed constitution. Instead, legislation would go directly to the president, who would have the power to veto it.
Several methods by which the senate could override such a veto are still being debated.
Senators discussed the proposed constitution at their meeting last week and are expected to discuss and make changes to the proposal before approving it.
If the proposed constitution is passed by the senate, the council must also approve the vote, Davidson said.
The senate meets tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Memorial Student Union Santa Rita Room.