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UCS fails to pass voting change

The Undergraduate Council of Students defeated a proposal at Wednesday's meeting that would have made it easier to pass certain resolutions.


The plan would have allowed UCS to pass resolutions and student group categorizations by a simple majority. UCS currently requires a two-thirds majority of the voting general body to pass resolutions, student group categorizations, revisions to UCS's Code of Operations and Constitution and motions to remove members.


After much discussion, the code change failed 21-17 — a 55 percent majority, but not enough to change the rule.


Campus Life Chair Ben Farber '12, who introduced the idea at the UCS general body meeting last week, said it "makes no sense" that Brown has not adopted a simple majority policy, as have all other Ivy League schools.


Because UCS usually passes resolutions with a large majority, he told the general body, "this really will only matter in a couple of situations, but in general will make us more representative of the student body."


But requiring no more than a simple majority could "allow for us to pass half-hearted resolutions," said Brittaney Check '12 at the meeting.


Several members agreed with Student Activities Chair Brady Wyrtzen '11, who said, "If we were to make the vote a simple majority, our resolutions would mean even less."
"Why should we change this because of how other legislative bodies are operating?" Wyrtzen said.


Part of the reasoning behind Brown's two-thirds requirement involves UCS's open membership policy, which welcomes all students who want to join and can get 150 signatures from their peers, UCS Vice President Diane Mokoro '11 told The Herald. "We can be more certain that we are actually representing student voices if we have a two-thirds majority vote," she added.


"We don't actually represent the student body, in that we weren't all elected to be here," Wyrtzen said during the meeting.


According to Farber's research, Brown and Dartmouth are the only Ivies whose student government members are not all elected.


After a heated debate about the logistics of passing resolutions, followed by the vote, UCS President Clay Wertheimer '10 told the general body that, though resolutions are important, the ways UCS members "create the most change on campus" are through working on committee projects and "going to the administrators and being proactive."


After the meeting, Farber said he was only "mildly disappointed" that the code change didn't pass.


"I'm really pleased that we had some good debate and some good discussion about our role as representatives of the student body," Farber said.


Mokoro said this was "the first time in the semester that something that was proposed got this much contention."


At the meeting, UCS also passed a revision to the Undergraduate Finance Board's constitution updating the allocation of UFB seats, since some of the groups that previously held them are now defunct, and opened the hearings of the UFB's Appeals Board so that third parties can sit in on them.




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