Long-standing ambiguity in Student Government committee appointment standards may be resolved tomorrow depending on the outcome of a hearing for a petition against the student body president.
Student Government’s judiciary branch met for a hearing last night to hear out parties involved in a petition submitted by SG School of Law representative Austin Carlson.
According to the petition, there is ambiguity concerning the process that a student body president must take to appoint someone to a committee. The confusion has resulted in ad hoc standards for what merits a constitutionally-defined appointment. SG Chief Justice Alden Harris said a decision will ideally be made by tomorrow.
According to Carlson, current SG President Natalie Butler has made appointments and created committees without going through the assembly. This infringes upon SG’s transparency and on a students ability to become involved in student government because it allows for the executive office to bypass assembly regulations, he said.
“If the student isn’t confirmed [by the assembly], they need to be confirmed or else the power of the assembly is being abridged,” he said. “That’s my most important thing, everything else is second because that check is such an important part of the way the assembly works.”
A line needs to be drawn between Butler sending someone to a meeting when she can’t make it and appointing someone to a committee to take her place, Carlson said.
There should also be clarification between someone representing SG and someone representing the student body, because as it stands they are essentially the same thing, he said. Carlson’s suggested solution is the “Bright Line Appointment Test,” which would require any student serving in any capacity to undergo the assembly’s official appointment process and to be considered a representative of SG, the University and the student body.
The distinction of how someone is serving on a given committee comes from asking the person who is requesting a potential student committee member, Butler said. She said while she is happy to comply with any resolution made by the judicial branch, she would like to allow some time for expedient circumstances and to maintain her authority to send someone in her place when she cannot make it to meetings.
Fighting for the student voice is one of the student body president’s most important duties, Butler said. The bright line test could create a long, difficult process which would result in University committees opting out of involving SG at all, she said.
“I’m very aware that if a different person were sitting in my chair, the University may not ask them questions that they would ask me,” she said. “Next year what if there isn’t that relationship? Then there isn’t that sense of trust and SG may not be consulted at all.”