Senate of College Councils changes nomination process with two new bills

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Plan II and English Senior David Engleman speaks at a Senate of College Councils meeting in Feb. 2014. 

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

The Senate of College Councils passed two bills in February that altered its nomination processes before the 2015 elections, which will take place March 12.

The Senate created and passed SB 1408 on Feb. 26 during the nominations general assembly meeting. The bill allows any council or general assembly member to be nominated for a Senate position, if at least two-thirds of councils vote to allow the motion.

During the nominations general assembly meeting, there were originally no nominees for the position of financial director, which was a problem most members had never encountered, according to current financial director David Engleman. This absence of candidates prompted the bill.

Two candidates who met the eligibility requirements did step up during the meeting, but the Senate decided to pass the bill regardless, Engleman said. 

“The discussion became about, ‘Should we open up eligibility requirements to run for one of these positions?’” Engleman said. “Ultimately, the vote was made to do that.”

The Undergraduate Business Council was one of the two councils that voted to oppose the bill.

“We voted against it out of principle,” said Adam Petras, Undergraduate Business Council president. “When Senate wants to be reformed, it’s something that should be thought about in advance. We didn’t think about it enough.”

The total discussion of the bill took 20 minutes, whereas a normal proposal for change usually takes up to two weeks. There was no real discussion about potential conflicts or problems that may arise from the passing of the bill, according to Petras.

“[The bill] might not have any impact in normal situations,” Petras said. “But it opens up the possibility for less qualified and less experienced applicants running for Senate.”

The Senate also unanimously passed SB 1405 on Feb. 12 to modify the nomination process. The original nomination process required all nominations to occur during the second-to-last general assembly meeting in February. However, since the spring semester resumed one week later than usual this year, candidates running for Senate president, vice president and financial director had a shorter campaign period. 

To accommodate for the time lost, the Senate passed SB 1405, which stated that all nominations can happen at any general assembly meeting in February, with one month of prior notice.

“Bill 1405 allows for more flexibility, giving members more time to choose nominees and giving nominees more time to campaign,” Senate president Geetika Jerath said.