Council Gets First Crack at New Constitution Debate

The A.S. Council started its meeting with a serious moment of silence for all of the students who died in school shootings this past week, and ended with a resolution on how to properly eat a cheeseburger.

After the solemn moment, put forward by Eleanor Roosevelt College Senior Senator Erik Rodriguez-Palacios, interim Vice President External Long Pham presented the council’s goal to register 2,000 students to vote in the upcoming November elections. Pham said that they have approximately 300 new voters so far. A.S. President Harry Khanna conducted a special presentation, the first of six or seven future reports, to present his plan to make significant changes to the council’s governing documents. Khanna said that there are currently too many documents, bylaws and charters, which ultimately produce contradictions and redundancies. According to Khanna, the constitution was written 30 years ago by a committee appointed by the university administration and it did not represent the student body’s best interests.

The task force commissioned to rewrite the constitution generated the most debate with its proposal to create new academic-division senators instead of college divisions, which would hopefully increase voter turn-out, Khanna said.

“I think to say that we have six great colleges and one great A.S. would be to ignore that there is more to UCSD,” Khanna said.

The creation of an associate vice president for local affairs was suggested to improve the relationship between UCSD and La Jolla residents, an issue that came up last year when many of the apartments near campus were converted into condos.

Rodriguez-Palacios introduced a proposal allowing the A.S. president to vote during council meetings but abolishing the president’s right to veto.

“There is no need for a separation of powers in student government,” he said.

A change in job descriptions for other councilmembers included the speaker of the council, currently the vice president internal, suggesting it should be changed to a member selected by the council. The task force on revamping the constitution said two weeks would be allowed for comments before a revision would be presented.

The meeting shifted to reports by other councilmembers, the first coming from Commissioner of Communications Leo Bondar.

“I got the broken fan in the media lab fixed,” he said flatly.

Finally, the council spent 20 minutes debating whether to purchase a cart to transport goody bags and other items the council might carry. Vice President Finance Conrad Ohashi commented that he strongly recommended doors on the cart, but was overruled by the finance committee.

“The reason Conrad wanted doors was completely inappropriate,” John Muir College Junior Senator Aida Kuzucan said. “If something happens, I want there to be privacy.”

While the council dissolved into laughter, Vice President Internal Pro Tempore Kari Gohd, filling in for Vice President Internal Janine Dellomes, intervened just in time to rule the debate out of order.