In a move that disregards parts of the Michigan Student Assembly’s governing codes, MSA voted to give a seat to the School of Public Policy at its meeting last night.
A proposal breaking down the number of MSA representatives allotted to each of the University’s schools or colleges was amended to allow one seat for Public Policy. The proposal passed by a vote of 24 to 8 with three abstentions.
MSA President Zack Yost said the decision would likely be challenged in the Central Student Judiciary today. The CSJ could end up deciding the final seat allocation for the upcoming student government elections.
Members in support of the proposal said MSA’s constitution requires that Public Policy get a seat. The constitution states: “Each student or college shall receive at least one representative.”
But according to the assembly’s Compiled Code, colleges’ populations must be defined by the population figures provided solely by the registrar. The most recent registrar’s report is from winter semester, when the Public Policy school had no undergraduates.
Members supporting the amended proposal said that in cases of ambiguity such as this, the assembly’s code states that constitution trumps code – thus every school should have an MSA seat, including Public Policy.
But opposing members said there is no ambiguity. They said the code does not define Public Policy as a college based on the registrar’s numbers.
Many members of the assembly, including Yost, said MSA had a moral obligation to represent the students of Public Policy by providing them with a seat.
During the debate, there were repeated objections to whether the assembly could even consider the proposal, but Yost and the majority of the assembly overruled them.
The objections dealt with the fact that the constitution does not explicitly grant MSA the right to deal with apportionment, instead delegating these duties to the Election Board. It does not, however, prohibit MSA’s involvement in the process.
This marks the first time MSA has dealt with an election’s apportionment plan.
Also at last night’s meeting, MSA Rep. Anton Vuljaj resigned from his post as chair of the Budget Priorities Committee. He said he needed to take time to deal with personal issues and received a round of applause from the assembly after his short speech.
Vuljaj, along with Engineering senior Joel Alan Schweitzer, is facing a charge of using a computer to commit a crime – a felony carrying up to four years and a $5,000 fine – and the high court misdemeanor of interfering with an electronic device, which carries up to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine. Both charges stem from the March 2006 MSA elections, during which attackers shut down a rival MSA party’s website.
BPC Vice Chair and MSA Rep. Stella Binkevich will take over Vuljaj’s empty position. MSA Rep. Gibran Baydoun will fill Binkevich’s position.