When tuition increases next year, students can rest assured the salaries of Students’ Association officers will not follow suit. Wage freezes for SA officers were among a laundry list of amendments approved by Congress on Feb. 25.
Amendments to bylaws and rules of order need only the approval of Congress, but constitutional amendments must be ratified by the student body. Students will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed amendments sometime in the next few days.
Tony Godfrey, SA vice president, said the organization does not expect a budget increase any time soon, and to follow the precedent of increasing salaries as tuition increases would allow officers to pocket valuable funds. He said the unlikelihood of ACU staff receiving any wage increase contributed to the decision.
“The whole reason we do this is to divert money back to the students and help students do whatever it is they want to do,” Godfrey said. “And SA shouldn’t be unique from any other department in this area.”
The proposed amendments include a process for impeachment, which students must ratify before they take effect. The controversial impeachment of SA President Daniel Paul Watkins in 2009 brought to light the need for a clearly defined process. Proposed article V.2 requires a three-fourths majority to impeach an officer. If the vice president or treasurer resign or are impeached, the president will appoint a replacement, upon two-thirds approval by the Senate.
Another proposed amendment loosens the requirements for official resignation. Members no longer need to find a replacement as long as they submit a letter of resignation to the president. Godfrey said the amendment was crucial for SA to accomplish anything this semester. Reaching quorum – the number of present members required to vote on a bill – traditionally has been difficult for SA, but an unusually large number of representatives studied abroad this semester and failed to identify a replacement.
“We had to impeach all the students who went to study abroad; not because they did anything wrong, but because literally it would have been impossible to pass anything without them,” Godfrey said. “We didn’t have quorum at our first meeting, and we couldn’t pass the budget, which means students couldn’t access their funds.”
Officers said they hope the SA app for the iPhone and iPod touch will be available for students to use to vote on the amendments. If the application is released in time and student involvement is high, they plan to use the app in the upcoming SA elections. Students without a mobile device will be able to participate in the same capacity online via e-mail.