The Student Assembly (SA) of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College altered the UGBC Constitution and Standing Rules at a meeting on Feb 2. Members also voted to pass two additional resolutions, including an updated transparency policy and the reimplementation of the grocery shuttle for Montserrat students.
One provision in the new UGBC Constitution allows the president to appoint special interest seats, instead of the seats being allocated by the University’s undergraduate population through a vote. Some SA representatives raised concerns that the provision could lead to potential quid pro quo situations where the president would appoint campaign allies instead of more qualified candidates.
“While [the process] is, in theory, a good way of ensuring that the right experts to represent the special interest seats are based on knowledge … In practice, they are basically open to abuse,” said international representative Hollie Watts, MCAS ’21. “That is not how UGBC is conducted.”
Olivia Deval, transfer representative and MCAS ’23, also opposed the provision, saying it poses issues of trust and that the process should remain democratic.
“So I think honestly that’s what it comes down to, who you trust the most, and I just think it should remain a democratic process,” Deval said.
Some in favor of the provision said that appointing the seats promotes efficiency. Others said that the president, who is democratically elected, should be trusted to make appointments.
“I would also say that if our issue is being able to trust the president, the president is elected, so sort of by virtue of that, the people are electing a president and the student body is electing a president who they should trust to make those decisions,” said GLBTQIA+ Council (GLC) policy coordinator Ivy DiBiase, MCAS ’22.
Co-sponsor of the resolution for the new constitution Dennis Wieboldt, SA representative and MCAS ’22, voiced his support for the proposal, which he said was a work in progress.
“The document that we proposed some months ago, it’s not nearly as good as the document we have now,” Wieboldt said. “That’s a testament to all the hours that people have put into this.”
Deval said each special interest community should vote for its own representative. Wieboldt responded that the proposal is working within the existing University framework, which does not have a mechanism in place to allow for such a vote.
“It’s not possible at the present moment to have only the people in those respective groups vote for their representative,” Wieboldt said. “It’s not logistically possible. There’s nothing that would indicate to OSI that only first-gen reps, can only get this link, to only vote for these candidates.”
The constitution passed with 23 votes. Three SA representatives voted no and one abstained.
Jordan Nakash, freshman representative and MCAS ’24, presented a resolution to restart the BC grocery shuttle program for Montserrat students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students are more likely to face food insecurity, she said.
“The plan would be to have one or two buses do their rounds every Sunday at a time deemed ideal,” Nakash said. “We did a survey that went out to Montserrat students and we got 337 responses, 334 of which were yeses. So this resolution is just to further conversations between transportation and Montserrat to put the grocery shuttle in place.”
Members voted unanimously to pass the resolution.
SA members then proposed a resolution regarding the UGBC’s transparency. According to Wieboldt, the proposed resolution would make information including voting records, resolutions, current initiatives, and a list of the members of the SA and executive council, all publicly available on the UGBC website.
“This just provides the division of communications with the outline of regulations for the UGBC website,” Wieboldt said. “It provides them discretion in consultation with OSI about what website to use. We have an official BC website. We also have a MyBC page. So it leaves that question open, but it just basically lists the information that we’d like to see on that.”
The provision passed unanimously through a roll call vote.
Featured Image by Maddy Romance / Heights Editor