Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Voting about voting, Senate bylaws change

<lass="page layoutArea" title="Page 1">

To increase clarity and efficiency, the CSA Senate has spent the term updating its bylaws in order to make its funds and services more accessible to students.

Each term, the Senate makes a few changes to its bylaws, and this term one of its focuses was on revising the Treasurer Discretionary Fund (TDF), which currently has $2,000 that the Treasurer can use on a variety of student projects.

Senate Treasurer Ben Strauss ’16 said this bylaw change increased the funding of special programs that fall under the TDF.

In increasing the funds available through the TDF, the Senate hopes that more students would use these funds because currently, they often go unused.

One example of a program that students can directly use is the Third Center Fund, which gives groups of at least seven students money to go out to lunch with their professors or other Carleton faculty/staff. However, according to Strauss, this fund has not been used all year.

Strauss admitted that the online request form to get this funding, which has six strict requirements, is not very inviting to students.

He also said that the Senate’s goal in the near future is to make its funds more widely known and accessible to all students.

Strauss said, “The bylaws are not as well-formatted as they need to be.” Because of this, Strauss said, the Senate hopes to make grammatical and formatting changes to the bylaws starting next year.

It will work with the Constitutional Review Board, in hopes of making the bylaws more understandable to the majority of Carls.

Although the bylaws still work on a technical level, they contain formalities that the Senate does not necessarily follow, making the bylaws difficult to use.

For example, as of right now, CSA Officers like Strauss must report the changes they make once per term to the Carleton student body. Students at large must report once per academic year.

This is more time intensive than necessary, especially with the advent of fast email communication.

Furthermore, each bylaw is supposed to have written justification supporting its implementation. However, while a good idea, Strauss pointed out that it is difficult to put into practice.

A change that the Senate discussed and did not implement was Strauss’ proposal to make a slight change to the voting procedure. As of now, to get a bylaw approved, the CSA vets it, the Senate then approves it, and 1/5 of students must support it.

Strauss’ idea was to have the Senate look again at the proposed change after the students vote. It would allow the Senate to consider what the student body thought before going ahead with the bylaw change.

For example, if the change was big and only a little over 1/5 of the student body voted in favor of it, this could mean that the Senate should make changes so that more students agree with the proposal.

The goal of this proposal was for an additional check to be added to the voting procedure. In the end, the Senate decided this bylaw change would further complicate the voting process. Therefore, it was voted against in a non-binding straw poll, where Strauss said he also voted against his own proposal. The proposal that was I adopted was proposed by College Council Liaison Henry Gordon, which called for a clarification of the voting process while keeping it basically the same.

With the many changes happening in the Senate bylaws every term, Strauss ended by saying that if any students have questions, they can contact CSA Officers and set up a one-on-one meeting.

Budget committee meetings and other Senate meetings are also open to the public, and if students want something changed, they can add themselves to the agenda and discuss the issue during the meeting.

As Strauss reiterated, “If students want to to see changes made to Senate bylaws, the CSA Senate would love to hear their opinions.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *