The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Amendment controversy

Proposed change to Senate Special Interest seats causing a fuss among those minorities affected

In last night’s Association of Black Students meeting, Student Body President Chip Hiemenz and Lyndsey Hummert, chair of the Senate’s Membership Task Force, were on hand to discuss the implications of the proposed amendment to Article II, Section 3.8 of the Student Body Constitution.

The amendment, which has generated more discussion that the actual Senate seats up for grabs, would allow any full-time student to run for the Special Interest Senator seats. Currently, there are four Special Interest Senator seats: African-American, International, Asian-American and Hispanic-American.

The proposed amendment would raise the restriction that only members of those four classifications can run for the special interest seats. Only members of the Special Interest Senator seats minority community are allowed to vote for their respective seat.

The proposed amendment was a recommendation of the Senate’s Membership Task Force.

According to a handout passed out by members of the Senate at the meeting, the amendment “seeks to ensure that every student at SMU has the best possible representation within the Student Senate.”

Two-thirds of the voting student body must approve the amendment for it to pass.

“Anytime you have a change to the constitution, the student body has to approve it,” Hummert said.

“There’s a very good checks and balances system in place,” Hiemenz added.

One of the first questions posed to Hiemenz was the legality of the amendment if passed.

“We’ve heard nothing of legal implications,” Hiemenz said.

Another hypothetical posed was if a minority body was unhappy with its elected Senator how easily it is to have that representative removed.

“There is an impeachment process. It has to be started by the Student Senate,” Hummert said. “The Student Senate would have to kick out its own member.”

Fraud involved with online voting was also an issue raised. Hummert and Hiemenz informed those in attendance that the webmaster is capable of detecting fraud.

“He goes through and does a complete check,” Hummert said.

“He has picked up fraud in the past,” Hiemenz added, referring to the 2003 elections.

Another issue raised was the targeting of only the special interest seats’ policy being changed versus school seats.

“These four [special interest] seats are not the same as the school seats.” Hummert said. “These seats are above and beyond the regular representative seats.”

The final question posed was if the Membership Task Force took into consideration a balance, as only 19 percent of SMU’s student body is a minority. Meaning that 19 percent could never achieve the two-thirds majority voted needed to pass anything.

“Every student has the right to decide these seats,” Hummert said. “It’s a democracy, everybody gets to vote.”

“I beg to differ,” Alicia Hills, a member of ABS, said. “It wasn’t considered.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, Senate Secretary candidate Drew Washington asked his fellow ABS members to remain patient.

“If it does [pass], don’t think it’s all or nothing,” he said.

The amendment will be included in tomorrow and Thursday’s election. To vote on the amendment and all Student Senate candidates, visit from midnight Wednesday until the polls close at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

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