By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
In its last meeting of the year the Students’ Association, Congress discussed whether a separate student court was necessary in representing and providing a voice for the student body.
Despite more than 30 minutes of discussion of three amendments that would have created a student Bill of Rights and established a SA student court, the amendments failed to garner the two-thirds majority (38 votes) needed to pass – 17 congress members voted for the legislation, while 21 voted against it and four abstained from voting.
Senior senator Brandon Smith, international relations major from Kansas City, Mo., wrote and proposed the amendments Wednesday night to create what he claimed would be a court that would hold congress accountable and ensure students’ rights were not violated.
“Congress has never wanted to hold themselves accountable; why should I expect them to start now,” Smith said.
Smith had greater vision for the court, claiming that in time the court could evolve into an appellate court that would provide a voice for students in disciplinary decisions made by judicial affairs. Smith said the beginning stages of the court would be to prove its legitimacy before it could influence policy.
“To get to that point every other “To get to that point every other school has had to prove that their court can exist with legitimacy,” Smith said.
Vice president-elect and sophomore senator Daniel- Paul Watkins voted against the legislation because he felt it was taking to much responsibility away from congress.
“It’s our job to represent and help find solutions for the students, not a supreme court that the students get to elect anyways,” said Watkins, sophomore political science major from Fredericksburg, Va.
The court would have had seven justices that would have been approved by a two-thirds vote from Congress.
Senior senator Shelby Coates, senior journalism major from Clarksville, Tenn., said she voted against the legislation because there were too many unanswered questions about the court.
“I think it is a good idea, but I don’t think it was as developed as it could have been,” Coates said. “We had a lot of open-ended questions, and I’m glad Congress voted as it did.”
McKinzie representative Daniel Burgner, freshman political science major from Yorba Linda, Calif., voted for the legislation because of the accountability power the student court would have had.
“I feel like it would have kept Congress and the elections committee accountable,” Burgner said.
Congress did unanimously approve a resolution that called for the addition of recycling receptacles at University Park Apartments. Congress voted 41-0-0. But an amendment that would allow students to run as a representative of academic buildings if they had declared a minor in that building lost 35-4-2.
Wednesday’s meeting marked the session of the 84th SA Congress.
“I can’t believe it’s been a year,” said current president Maher Saab, senior political science major from Abilene.
The newly elected executive officers will officially begin their terms on Tuesday.