The Undergraduate Council of Students introduced a voting efficiency amendment and continued its discussion of hybrid procedure rules at its general body meeting Wednesday evening.
The Voting Efficiency Amendment would allow the Council to vote to “expedite the amendment process” and “vote on the issue the same day it is proposed,” according to the text of the amendment. The current code of operations, introduced in light of the pandemic and virtual procedures, mandates that UCS waits a week to vote on an item after it is introduced.
Introducing the amendment, UCS Vice President Sam Caplan ’22 voiced concerns about the current procedure. “In any given semester, we only have like eight to 10 meetings, so to spend two meetings on a single measure” can be inefficient, he said.
For most measures, the default process would remain the same: The body would still maintain a week between introducing an item and voting, but the amendment would allow UCS to vote more immediately in certain circumstances if necessary.
For more complicated or contentious votes, such as those involving external speakers or presenters, the extra time before voting is beneficial, Caplan said. But “especially toward elections season, (when) we get a lot of referenda at once or if we want to do procedural things like amend the bylaws, it might be helpful to have that extra flexibility to vote on a measure the same day it is proposed,” he added.
Prior to the pandemic, when all general body meetings took place in person, the Council was able to vote on an item the night it was introduced.
The introduction of this amendment follows discussions during last spring’s election season about the need to revise the Council’s bylaws and make UCS more effective, The Herald previously reported.
The Council also introduced a set of procedural rules, intended to complement the virtual procedural rules drafted during the pandemic and to provide a set of guidelines for hybrid meetings, The Herald previously reported.
“The goal here is that we will have a copy of our virtual rules of procedure and we’re also establishing a set of hybrid rules so that in the case we have to go fully virtual again, we don’t need to amend our special rules,” said UCS Parliamentarian Elaine Wang ’24.
Under the hybrid rules of procedure, UCS members will have the option to join meetings virtually. The Council will also be able to vote live during meetings rather than having members vote on their own time, Wang added.
The Council will vote on whether or not to adopt the hybrid rules of procedure after the meeting, as UCS is still operating under the virtual rules.
Also at the meeting, Council members brainstormed initiatives they would like to pursue during the semester.
Many ideas centered upon student experiences in dorms and dining halls, with members hoping to improve campus life by expanding the accessibility of campus buildings, addressing concerns relating to gender-neutral restrooms, investigating dorm conditions and improving dining options.
UCS-UFB Liaison Johann Dizon ’24 also announced at the meeting that the Undergraduate Finance Board will now grant $25 to cover publicity expenses for each event a student group hosts. The Board previously did not grant a baseline fund toward publicity for events.
If a club can demonstrate “significant need, we may consider funding an additional $25,” Dizon said.