Debate rages over new roles in Senate

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A few members of the Student Senate became frustrated and confused concerning a few issues on the floor Tuesday, beginning with an amendment to the SMU Student Senate by-laws.

The room was filled with tension, as Article IV, section 1-d was altered. What once read “a simple plurality of the votes” now reads “a simple majority of the votes shall constitute enough votes to be elected Speaker of the Senate.”

That simple change was enough to cause a half-hour debate in the Senate.

Student Body President Jodi Warmbrod believes the revision to the amendment is a positive one.

“This [amendment] creates a true executive board,” Warmbrod said. “Student Body officers don’t have to meet separately and student’s voice is represented.”

The two biggest issues about the change were how the speaker of the Senate is chosen and the change from plurality to majority in the voting process.

This restructuring of the executive committee concerned some of the Senate because it gives some officers more power.

However, some Senate members disagreed with the revision. Dedman I Senator Michael L. Dorff agreed with some members who liked the plurality vote because of its simple nature.

“We deliberated to change to a plurality for the simplistic, finality and efficiency of the process,” Dorff said. “If they won a fair election they should be given the respect of their position.”

A second amendment to the SMU Student Senate Policies and Procedures was passed as well, which some senators believed brought policies up to speed. The change gives the speaker of the Senate powers over time limits.

It also ties up loose ends concerning the position, created earlier this year.

“The primary reason for Senate to address this piece of legislation is to bring the by-laws to be in line with the changes that the student body passed for the constitution,” Warmbrod said.

In other news, Meadows Senator Philip Weigand proposed the club’s bill going towards books and travel to Austin for this year’s competition.

“We gave up our spring break and it’s been a big sacrifice but it’s important,” Weigand said. “[The competition] is a good way to get our name our and have ad agencies and management see and talk to us.”

Ad Club was given third place last year and if the team places first this year, the $5,000 prize will be given towards James Goodnight’s daughter’s memorial library.

A proposal was also passed in the form of a bill to fund $694.30 to Fusion for Resurrection Week 2002.

First-year senator Robert McDonough proposed Fusion’s argument in Senate. The bill recognizes that Resurrection Week, an annual event at SMU, offers a certain amount of cultural insight and perspective to the Christian faith.

Because Fusion didn’t have a budget and contracts for speakers are unsigned, multiple questions arose from the Senate concerning the $1348.71 the organization raised last year.

McDonough countered that a major consideration for funding should be last year’s attendance figures, which totaled nearly 250 people.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes applied for a Charter stating that the organization caters not only to athletes but people who are non-exclusive with ideals of Christianity.

The appropriations committee wanted to fund three student body officers in order for them to attend a conference to procure better leaders and help make SMU’s student body better. The majority of the Senate agreed with the logic behind the conference, but some senators saw a problem with funding nearly $4,000 to only three members of the student body.

The proposal passed anyway almost unanimously.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Kris Liggitt also proposed the budget allotment for every chartered student organization on campus.

Over $1 million in requests were presented, but just over $470,000 was available for the organizations. All budgets are available on-line on the Senate Web site.

The committee presented Senate with the committee’s recommendations for organization’s funding, and the Senate will vote on the proposal next week. Senators will have a week to propose changes and challenge the decisions made by the committee.

In other legislation, Warmbrod proposed a resolution thanking Dan Stansbury, who has given money and allowances for many organizations on campus, including the Leadership Consultant Council.

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