CC to rethink old bylaws

College Council (CC) will consider two proposals to overhaul its bylaw structure and redraw its voting districts at its meeting on Wednesday. According to Mike Henry ’04, CC co-president, the two proposals were developed by the Bylaw Revisions Committee (BRC) and are aimed at making the old bylaw structure compatible with the new CC constitution, which was passed in the general elections immediately before Spring Break.

The new constitution aims to streamline the structure and operation of the Council and address several of the shortcomings of the old constitution.

However, while the new constitution, which had been in development for the past two years, addressed many of the previous problems, the details governing CC’s actions are set forth in the bylaws. As such, the old bylaws were developed to work with the previous constitution, and change was required to deal with new and revised provisions of the new document.

Henry assembled the BRC a week after Spring Break by soliciting interested members over the CC e-mail listserver. Eight members of CC and a non-CC member who expressed interest worked over the following weeks to develop two versions of the bylaws to present for passage by CC: Bylaw Revision Proposals A and B.

Proposal A is designed to contain the minimum changes required to bring the bylaws in line with the new constitution and Proposal B contains all of Proposal A as well as some new suggestions by the BRC.

“The goal of the committee was originally only to revise the bylaws in order to be compatible with the new constitution that takes effect in September, but the committee also has suggestions that go further than constitutional compatibility,” Henry said in an e-mail to the CC listserver. Henry said that the two proposals were developed to ensure that even in the worst-case scenario, Proposal A would most probably be passed and CC would have bylaws compatible with its constitution next September.

The major change included in both proposals is a reduction in overall number of representatives on CC as well as redrawing the way the various districts cover the campus. Specifically, the districts have been redrawn to ensure that each CC member represents from 120 to 200 students. The only exception is the JA rep, whose constituents are the 50 JAs.

According to Henry’s e-mail, the decrease in membership is aimed at increasing the prestige of winning a CC seat, increasing the personal accountability of each member and turning the housing unit position into “a higher profile and more significant leadership position,” thereby giving CC members greater incentive to invest themselves in CC.

An example of the compatibility-driven changes contained in Proposal A is the rephrasing of clauses setting forth campaign rules – under the new constitution, elections have been moved from before Spring Break to much earlier in the Spring semester. Thus, the language setting when campaigning could commence had to be changed.

“It’s basically cosmetic stuff; there’s no really big change other than the representative system,” Henry said.

Henry said that Proposal B suggests changes that could be more contentious than those contained in Proposal A. An example of a unique portion of Proposal B is a rule that would require the CC Treasurer to send a comprehensive yearly ‘state of the student body budget’ e-mail to the community to increase transparency in CC’s operation. Proposal B also sets out guidelines governing the eligibility of students to serve as substitutes for CC members.

While the changes are not drastic, the BRC felt they could provoke more discussion in the CC meeting than those in Proposal A. Since Proposal B addresses issues that are subject to approval of CC officers, Henry predicted that the more comprehensive proposal would require a more comprehensive discussion. Because the meeting on Wednesday is scheduled to be shorter than the usually allotted time, Henry expressed concern that CC might not have the sufficient time to fully discuss and debate the merits of Proposal B.

However, he expressed optimism that at least one proposal would be passed, which would ensure compatibility between the bylaws and constitution when CC reassembles next September.