New UGBC Constitution Passes, Will Take Effect In Fall Semester
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 02:02
A week after releasing the final draft of the new constitution, the UGBC voted Sunday to adopt it starting in the 2013-14 school year. After spending months assembling the new constitution and weeks debating and amending it, the GLC, the ALC, and the Senate all passed the constitution.
Because of the snowstorm, voting was unable to proceed as originally planned and each branch had to adapt to the circumstances. Since the shuttle system was off-line, they were forced to find alternative methods of ensuring that Newton and off-campus residents could vote. The GLC went ahead with their planned meeting, but allowed absentee voting for members who could not make it. The ALC canceled their meeting, but held an anonymous online poll voting through the members’ Agora portals. The Senate proceeded with their scheduled meeting and picked up and dropped off freshmen from Newton, so that they could attend. Both the GLC and the Senate votes were closed meetings.
“There are normally 19 voting members [of the Senate],” said Vanessa Gomez, Senate president and A&S ’13. “We really wanted to get this passed today, so we decided that we were going to hold the vote. Fifteen voting members were present, which met the two-thirds quorum. We took a voice vote and it passed unanimously.”
“The online poll voting ran smoothly,” said Devika Patel, ALC president and A&S ’13. “There were 69 eligible voting members and 51 votes came in. Of those votes, 35 were a yes.”
“There are 31 eligible voting members from GLC,” said Joshua Tingley, GLC president and A&S ’13. “We have some freshmen who live on Newton who were unable to make it, but otherwise no real difficulties. We had 24 members vote yes, five vote no, and two abstentions.”
After the votes were tallied, the eight presidents and vice-presidents released a statement via email.
“The eight presidents and vice presidents within the Undergraduate Government of Boston College are pleased to announce that the new proposed structure has been passed through all of the voting bodies within the organization,” the statement read. “While we are obviously pleased that the structure has passed, we understand that there is much more work to do to ensure that this new organization can be as successful as possible. We are prepared, along with all of the members of our organization to put in the time necessary, as we have done thus far, to ensure that success.”
Although the constitution passed the GLC, the ALC, and the Senate, due to the current constitution, the Cabinet did not vote on the new constitution. Although some Cabinet members supported the new constitution, there were many that did not. Allison Bowman, executive director of communications and A&S ’13, and Michael Tibbetts, deputy director of communications and A&S ’13, worked with senior Cabinet members to draft a statement expressing their discontent.
“While Senior Cabinet generally agreed that reconsideration of the organization’s structure and function are necessary, it specified important issues with a variety of changes outlined in the document’s most recent draft,” the statement read. “These criticisms were formed based on the leadership’s experience within the organization over the past four years, a study of how UGBC’s evolution has since made it the organization it is today, and its potential for the future based on its current structure and membership.
“Furthermore, Senior Cabinet based its decision on feedback received from all Cabinet departments and members. The sentiment of disfavor with the proposed changes was circulated, in letter format, to members of the Senate to consider upon voting. Although the final vote did not reflect its stance, Senior Cabinet is fully prepared to assist in the transition process.”
“In the document [Senior Cabinet] sent to Senate, we outlined our three largest concerns,” Bowman said. “These are the structure of the freshman program, the workload and responsibilities in the office of the press secretary, and redundancies and inconsistencies across the organization as a whole.”
Across all four branches of the UGBC, all of the presidents spoke of the importance of the work that needed to be done this semester for the new structure to be implemented next fall. While standing rules for the new Student Assembly have already been drafted, rules for the new GLC and ALC representative boards have not been written. Both Tingley and Patel stressed the importance of educating members about the new structure and how to get involved in it.