College Council (CC) legislators violated its constitution three times during its Feb. 13 meeting by passing bills to amend CC’s Constitution and Standing Rules without first consulting its Administrative Committee, according to CC co-Chief of Staff Jacob Hicks (18Ox, 20C).
Because the bills were passed unconstitutionally, CC will ask its Administrative Committee to review the bills and reintroduce them at CC’s next legislative session, Hicks said.
“I think we were complying with the spirit of the rules, [but] not the letter of them,” Hicks said. “We’ve looked at [the Constitution] and we’re just going to re-present [the bills] just to make sure we’re on solid constitutional grounds.”
The CC Constitution states that CC’s Administrative Committee must “review and make a recommendation on any and all amendments to the College Council Constitution and Standing Rules prior to their submission to the Legislature.”
At the meeting, CC legislators voted on a bill written by CC Sophomore Legislator Lyndsey Garbee (21C) to allow the legislature to offer zero-interest loans to clubs who request additional funding. The bill passed by a vote of 11-0 and one abstention.
Garbee’s bill amended CC’s monetary policy, which is a binding component of CC’s Standing Rules and governs how CC disburses funding to clubs. Garbee said she was not aware that the Administrative Committee must review the bill.
CC Vice President of Student Affairs Ben Palmer (18Ox, 20C) introduced another bill that restructures the organization of CC’s five standing committees and establishes guidelines governing the formation and renewal of temporary committees.
The bill modified about 200 lines of the CC Constitution and Standing Rules and was passed unanimously with 12 votes in favor.
CC legislators then debated a bill introduced by Hicks, which creates a formal process for passing resolutions to express CC’s formal opinion. The bill passed 10-0 with two abstentions.
To take effect, the bills need to be passed twice after they are reintroduced at CC’s next legislative meeting, according to the CC Constitution.
Student Leaders Unaware of Constitutional Requirement
CC Vice President of Communications Alex Chanen (21C) said nobody on CC was familiar with the constitutional requirement until the Wheel asked about it.
“That’s not something that was in our knowledge,” Chanen said. “That’s something that has been out of practice [for a few years].”
Chanen said he applied to serve on Student Government Association (SGA)’s ad hoc Governing Documents Review Committee and would encourage the committee to include CC’s governing documents in their review. CC is a divisional council which falls under SGA’s jurisdiction.
CC Vice President of Finance Teresa Wang (20B) said she did not believe Garbee’s bill to amend the monetary policy required Administrative Committee approval because she did not believe the monetary policy fell under CC’s Constitution or Standing Rules.
“We’re modifying [CC’s] monetary policy, not [the] Constitution or Standing Rules, so they’re not required to hear the amendments,” Wang said.
Hicks said the CC executive board hopes to reform the process of passing amendments to CC’s governing documents. He plans to propose a bill that would require bills that amend CC’s governing documents to be presented to the executive board.
“[This] is actually perfect because the executive board meets generally two days before the legislature on any given week,” Hicks said. “That way every person who has a role under the constitution would be there.”