ASUC Senate institutes time limit for meetings, registers 3 political parties

Ariel Hayat/File

At its meeting Wednesday, the ASUC Senate placed a time limit on its meetings, discussed a potential election bylaw and received registration from three new political parties.

In its first meeting of the semester, the senate updated a number of community agreements, which are nonbinding and designed to help meetings run smoothly. These updates include the installation of a time limit, requiring that meetings end at midnight. Any unfinished business would be addressed the next day at another scheduled meeting.

“Professional meetings are more productive when there is a certain end time because it establishes expectations,” said ASUC Senator Tanay Nandgaonkar, who proposed the agreement. “Ideally, this will help keep us on track.”

Some senators argued against the time limit, stating that it was wrong to cut off important discussions.

Though meetings rarely last past midnight, Nandgaonkar hopes that the deadline will help increase productivity and prevent the senate from having to hold meetings the following day.

“The second-day option should be used as a contingency plan and not something that is relied upon,” he said.

The ASUC is still determining when and where the follow-up meeting would occur. Nandgaonkar said that ideally the meeting would take place at the same time but in a different location, in order to free up Anna Head Alumnae Hall for other student groups.

Community agreements, including the time limit, are nonbinding, but Nandgaonkar will discuss the possibility of making the time limit a binding bylaw with the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Procedural Review.

Other community agreements discussed Wednesday night, including using gender-neutral language in meetings, sharing resources and promoting transparency, will likely result in a more productive and respectful environment, Nandgaonkar said.

As part of the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Procedural Review’s complete “overhaul” of election bylaws, the committee will officially consider a new bylaw that requires party members to identify with all aspects of the party’s name, according to Senate Vice Chair Alek Klimek.

For example, the Student Action-Apple Engineering-Unite Greek party often slated candidates that were only engineers and not members of the Greek system, which committee members thought could potentially mislead voters, Klimek said.

The senate collected party registration forms at Wednesday’s meeting. Although the bylaw is yet to pass, Student Action, Apple Engineering and Unite Greek, which were all unified under one party name, registered as three separate parties.

“We’re really excited to see the new bylaws in place because they fix a lot of minor issues that have come up over the years,” Klimek said. “It’s also really exciting that three new parties have registered.”

Progressive Greek, Progressive Engineering and Eco registered at the meeting.

Angel Grace Jennings contributed to this report.

Sonja Hutson covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson.

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article may have implied that voters were previously misled by the Student Action-APPLE Engineering-Unite Greek party name. In fact, committee members voiced concerns that the name could mislead voters in the future.