By Kelsi Peace, Managing Editor
The Students’ Association Congress divided over the rule requiring representatives to major in the building they represent, with some supporting adherence to the rules and others seeking to fill empty seats, at Wednesday’s meeting.
Congress debated the issue for more than an hour in a meeting with no new business on the agenda.
UP Rep. Caleb Archer, junior political science major from Southlake, moved to appoint Hallie Roberts, senior political science major from Fort Sumner, N.M., to the Zona Luce representative position, raising questions of whether students can represent a building as a minor and calling into question how rigorous Congress should be in examining qualifications.
While no one argued against Roberts’ ability to competently fill the role, some said it was inappropriate to let a student who spends little time in a building act as the representative. Others said filling empty seats is more important than focusing on procedure.
“We have rules for a reason,” said UP Rep. Casey Bingham, senior political science major from Conroe, an opponent of appointing Roberts to represent Zona Luce.
More than anything, some Congress members worried they could be setting a precedent of relaxing the rules. SA executive President Matt Worthington advised Congress to reconsider the rules governing appointing and electing representatives to allow students to representing buildings where they are minors.
No motion was made. Last year, a similar bill to amend restrictions to allow students with a minor to represent an academic building failed in Congress.
Archer’s motion to appoint Roberts also carried a motion to appoint Erin Kessler, junior political science major from Missouri City, to a junior senator position.
Archer’s motion to table all pending motions was struck down, and Congress instead severed the motion to vote on each appointee separately.
Congress unanimously appointed Kessler, and later appointed Darren Williams, freshman pre-med major from Longview, to the Foster Science Building representative position.
Williams fills the second spot of four.
Roberts, who is not a major or a minor in Zona Luce, will not be appointed to the position.
After last week’s meeting, parliamentarian Matt Greenberg told Congress throwing out or amending the use of Robert’s Rules of Order could speed up the meeting process.
“We are considering revisions to our current parliamentary procedure,” Greenberg said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Worthington said one option to prevent confusion could be to require prospective representative to fill out form to verify their eligibility. The move would create a paper trail, and, he said, could improve organization and communication.