A.S. reexamines need for task forces

    The A.S. Council discussed the status of its recently created task forces, which have never met and lack members, at its Nov. 12 meeting.

    Discussion during the council caucus focused around a task force to revamp A.S. election bylaws and a task force to investigate the feasibility of A.S. Council autonomy from the university administration.

    The debate began with a disagreement about the existence of the electoral revisions task force.

    “”It doesn’t exist,”” A.S. President Jeremy Paul Gallagher said. “”The last council passed it, but since it was a constitutional amendment, it had to be ratified by all of the college councils and that never happened.””

    According to Gallagher, since the task force was given the authority to change the A.S. constitution, the charter of the task force is considered a constitutional amendment, which must be approved by every college council.

    However, Thurgood Marshall College Sophomore Senator Kate Pillon argued that the task force charter did not constitute a constitutional amendment.

    “”I think this task force exists and we need to deal with it,”” Pillon said.

    No one has been appointed to serve on the election bylaws task force, which was created by the previous A.S. Council in February 2003. The autonomy task force, created in May 2003, has never met.

    “”Right now, the best we can do is focus our energy on one [task force],”” Pillon said.

    Marshall Senior Senator and Senate Chair Sierra Catcott recommended that the council dissolve the autonomy task force and instead make the election bylaws task force a priority.

    Others on the council were opposed to dissolving a task force simply because it had not yet had a meeting.

    “”I’m very against the idea that we dissolve something because we don’t feel that there’s going to be a significant proportion of people to serve on that committee,”” A.S. Commissioner of Enterprise Operations Jeremy Cogan said. “”I’m always of the philosophy that if you build it, they will come.””

    The option of forming a single task force to deal with both the election bylaws and autonomy was also discussed.

    “”If we’re going to start looking at part of our constitution, we should probably look at all of it at the same time,”” A.S. Commissioner of Academic Affairs Todd Tolin said.

    Another facet of the discussion revolved around the fairness of appointing a task force to research the elections bylaws just a few months before campaigns for next year’s council begin.

    A clear consensus on the status of the task forces was not reached.

    A third task force to research different methods of representation structure for the council was an item of new business at the Nov. 5 meeting, but was not included on the Nov. 12 agenda.

    “”We realized that we’ve created two other task forces and we have not filled them yet,”” Catcott said. “”We’d rather fill those task forces or dissolve them before adding a new one.””

    The task force on representation structure was originally submitted by Gallagher as a “”governing documents review committee”” at the Oct. 1 meeting. Since then, the task force has appeared four times in various forms on the A.S. Council agenda, but has never been debated on the council floor.

    The idea for a review of the current representation structure was sparked in part by the disproportion of transfer student representation on the council.

    The discussion regarding the task forces took place during the council caucus portion of the meeting, which is designed as a forum to exchange ideas. Motions to dissolve or create task forces are not permissible during council caucus. Any action on the task forces must be submitted as legislation to be considered by the council.

    “”Let’s just get it done,”” Cogan said.

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