SG downs more flexible voting rules for Sens.

Student Government downed a constitutional amendment that would create a more flexible voting system for senators-at-large last night at the full Senate meeting.

Sen. Tom Rauf proposed the amendment, which would allow senators-at-large to be elected by a cumulative voting method that would give students 15 votes to freely allocate among the candidates.

Currently, students can vote for 15 candidates and can only vote for each candidate once. Cumulative voting would allow students to vote 15 times in any way they choose, Rauf said. The intention of the amendment was to give smaller organizations a better chance of electing a senator to represent them.

“It’s difficult to run for senator-at-large if you aren’t from one of the larger organizations,” Rauf said. “You don’t have as wide of a network.”

The idea of cumulative voting would change the current system of senators being elected as a slate with a presidential candidate, Rauf said, but some senators did not think there was a need for change.

“It creates more of an, ‘every man for himself’ campaign,” Sen. Kara Osborne said. “It really takes away from ticket campaigning which has always worked really well in the past.”

The amendment was defeated by a 19-6 vote.

The Senate did approve an amendment that requires the Senate to write an act every year outlining the behavioral and job expectations of the senators during their time in office. The act, which passed 17-7 will be valid the entire year the senators are in office and will expire on the first meeting of the newly elected Senate, when the new senators would pass their own act by the second full meeting of the fall semester.

“Every year the new Senate would put together a contract and they would agree to fulfill specific duties,” said Sen. Jackie Colgate, the legislation sponsor. “It keeps people accountable.”

If senators do not abide by the guidelines they lay out, the Impeachment and Censure Committee would remove them from their position, said Senate President Tyler Montell.

“If senators fail to adhere to the guidelines, they will be asked to give up their seat to someone who would serve it better,” Montell said. If an at-large senator breaks their oath, they would be removed from office and replaced by the runner-up candidate from the year’s election.

Because the legislation in an amendment to the SG constitution, it must pass the Senate twice to go into effect. It will be voted on at the next full Senate meeting.

A referendum was presented to the Senate that will ask students if they want to use student fees to the amount of $2 per person each year to fund the Collegiate Readership Program, which provides newspapers such as USA Today and The New York Times on campus for free.

The Senate approved the resolution and the referendum will appear on the 2008 spring SG presidential ballot for students to vote on.

The program had a trial run in January and February in eight locations on campus, and SG Director of Constituency Services Tyler Fleck said students responded positively.