The Student Newspaper at Middlebury College

The Middlebury Campus

Student Government Association Update

By Kyle Naughton

The April 9 meeting began with a discussion pertaining to election reform within the senate bylaws. President Karina Toy ’17 proposed that the senate consider framing the election for Co-Chair of Community Council as a one-semester ticket where candidates would run for the spring and fall semesters separately. Such a change would allow students going abroad or living off campus for a semester to still run for the Co-Chair position.

The current Co-Chair, Travis Sanderson ’19, asserted that an elected individual could still be effective while holding the position for a single semester.

Senator Wilson, however, shared that her entry into the SGA for just one semester was a difficult transition, and that a split election could potentially impede Co-Chair efficiency. The motion to split Co-Chair elections was then put to a vote, and with 11 in favor, 3 opposed and 3 abstained, it was ultimately passed.

President Toy then outlined the clarifying changes within her Bylaws Amendment Bill. Such changes formally clarify the amount of money allocated to campaigns, the length of Feb senate positions and the newly introduced split election process for the Co-Chair of Community Council. These alterations were unanimously passed with all senators in favor of the bill.

The senate discussed an Elections Council Bill that would call for a special meeting of the senate in response to an electoral tie. Each of the tied candidates would have five minutes to address the senate, which would be followed by a secret ballot among senators to break the tie. The President of the SGA would be allowed to cast a vote to alter any ties within the senate ballot.

Senator Aliza Cohen ’17 expressed her concern that such a tiebreaking policy would diminish the democratic foundations of the SGA. Senator Nikki Lantigua ’17 echoed this sentiment, asserting that this procedure would give too much power to the senate. In response to these concerns, the senate called a straw poll on the tiebreak proposal; 12 were opposed to the policy, while only 4 were in support.

As an alternative tiebreak policy, Senator John Goldfield ’20 proposed the implementation of an additional runoff election between tied candidates. President Toy then provided additional guidelines of this additional election, specifying that tied candidates would have 12 hours to submit 100-word statements on why they should win, which would then be emailed to all relevant constituents before the 24-hour runoff election period starting at noon the following day. This revised policy was unanimously approved.

The April 17 meeting began with a reminder about Staff Appreciation Day, which will be held on April 20. President Toy then reviewed aspects of her Constitutional Reform Bill, which sought to rephrase certain Constitutional clauses and remove redundancy. This bill made alterations to the senator impeachment process, specifying that senators may not miss more than two meetings over the course of office, or no more than five meetings with a proxy substitute. It also asserted that meeting agendas and minutes should be sent out 48 hours prior to the next meeting as opposed to just 24 hours. The Reform Bill was unanimously approved.

Leave a Comment