Currently in the process of writing an entirely new constitution, the Associated Students Legislative Council hopes to streamline student government operations to more effectively serve the student body.
Yet, after witnessing more than a quarter and a half of Leg Council sidestepping healthy debate, as well as recently suspending bylaws at its convenience and eradicating important checks on power, we think the council could use the new constitution to tip the balance between effective government and ruling by decree.
Last Wednesday, A.S. lifted a moratorium restricting the placement of new lock-in fee initiatives for A.S. entities on the spring campuswide ballot that are not backed by a student petition.
This comes as a surprise, as the bylaw change helps get the $6 per undergraduate per quarter A.S. Bike Shop initiative on the ballot. Coincidentally, members of A.S. failed to obtain sufficient signatures on a petition for the proposal by the Feb. 7 deadline.
In addition, last year — when there was no option to remove the moratorium — Leg Council violated the bylaw by placing the A.S. Student Lobby lock-in initiative on the ballot without a petition.
Two weeks ago, Leggies ignored bylaws so they could go home early after a long meeting. While the amended Elections Code was required to be passed by Feb. 8, Leggies suspended the bylaws and passed it Feb. 15. Changing laws to match an agenda sets an extremely bad precedent.
The preceding examples, unfortunately, are but two of many instances this year of A.S.’s disregard for the ramifications of setting such precedents. Members of Leg Council: Stop arbitrarily changing laws and think hard about the consequences of your decisions. This is particularly important when those decisions affect students financially.
Rewriting the A.S. Constitution instead of making amendments could potentially weaken the democratic process, produce conflicts of interest and stifle opposing voices. To be fair, it also has the potential to make the process stronger. The Daily Nexus encourages those concerned about maintaining transparency and accountability in student government to attend the A.S. Constitutional Convention on March 7 in Corwin Pavilion at 6 p.m.