Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yes, SA, you may have a flood of worthless candidates

I am not a fan of SA politics (But I want you to run for an office - to learn why, keep reading).

Actually, I am not a fan of the SA in general. It produces huge egos and personalities who feel entitled to engage in public fights over issues that, 95% of the time, will not impact me and only affect those actually having the arguments that we are all forced to read and hear about.

Despite this, I am going to write about SA politics. I am not an expert on the venerable institution and I have only stumbled across this issue recently, but it has got me absolutely fuming.

Here you can find the "Decision and Orders of The Court of the George Washington University Student Association" (here is the full opinion) that affirms the passage of a bill stating that signatures are no longer required to run for a position within the SA (See, that's why I want you to run).

Here's a post on The Hatchet's website by Emily Cahn. An excerpt from the article is below (the emphasis is mine):

Signatures are no longer needed in order to run for a position within the Student Association after the Student Court voted to sustain the SA Senate’s veto override from this Tuesday night’s meeting.


SA President Vishal Aswani’s Vice President for Judicial and Legislative Affairs, Jordan Chapman, claimed that two-thirds of the entire senate body must vote in order to overturn a veto. However the court sided with Boyer, asserting that two-thirds of senators present and voting at the meeting was enough to garner a veto override.

Because the Court’s decision came a day before the candidate registration period ended, the Court ruled to extend the registration period until noon on Feb. 17, giving candidates an extra three and a half days to get their name on the ballot.

A longer version of that story is expected in Tuesday's Hatchet.

This means several things, some more immediate and some more lasting, if indeed judicial precedent exists in the SA (from my basic knowledge of the organization, it probably does not):

1. Fuzzy Math
Forevermore (if precedent applies), not the whole SA Senate, but a simple 2/3rds majority of a QUORUM of Senators can override a Presidential Veto. A quorum (from my basic understanding of this institution) is 13 Senators. Bear with me, readers, because now is when we get into the procedural stuff that Mr. Robert and the SA Barons like to opine about.

Quorum is 13. 2/3rds of 13 is 8.67, and since we won't be chopping up any of our upstanding SA Senators, that makes 9. If 9 people constitute 2/3rds of a quorum, that means that 9 senators (of around 30) can override a Presidential Veto. Talk about undermining the executive branch.

In short: 9/30 = 2/3.

Figure it out, GW, because now it's law.

2. Kyle Boyer: Masochist
Current SA Executive Vice President (who presides over the SA Senate) Kyle Boyer is a candidate for SA President.

Mr. Boyer was the main proponent of the "9 votes constitutes a 2/3rd majority in a 30 person governing body" legislative philosophy that prompted the lawsuit in the GW SA Court. He was the primary defendant.

Congrats on taking away one of the primary powers of the office you are pursuing, Mr. Boyer!

Ouch. Maybe should have thought of that one.

Number 3 (with a bullet): A High Probability of Crappy SA Candidates - You can be one too!
Yes, GWBlogSpot reader, you can be an SA Senate Candidate with naught but a pen stroke! Just fill out this form, drop it off at the Marvin Center Room 433/436 before noon on Tuesday, and you're in!

You don't have to campaign, you don't have to walk around and gather signatures to prove that you actually WANT the job, you can just fill out the form and further dilute the already somewhat milquetoast field of candidates for any number of SA offices.

I encourage everyone to take advantage of this unique opportunity to really mess with one very annoying institution.

Sign up to run - it's as easy as signing your receipt at Pita Pit. No, it's even better, it's free! And your name will be on a ballot! A real ballot! How cool is that?

Think of all the things you could do, even if you don't win! "George Washington University Student Association Presidential Candidate 2009" would look awfully impressive on a resume!

No effort necessary! Run for the SA, and turn it in before Tuesday at noon at the Marvin Center Room 433/436.

It's just too amusing not to.


James said...

Do we get to be in the debates, too?

Stephen Molldrem said...

I don't see why not. You'd be on the ballot, right?

Can we get someone in here from the SA or JEC to answer that question, perchance?

James said...

Well I, for one, look forward to a 35 person debate. I think that'll be great for the democratic process and help students make the "tough" decision of who's going to get to put SA President on their resume.

Ryan said...

I couldn't agree more. The SA has the ability to do some great things, but they get so caught up in pandering to issues that take more than wannabe politicians to change. Yes, it would be great to have the Metro take GWorld, and yes I want my SA talking about it, but is that really what I want it to spend all of its time on? No. I’d rather it make small changes that can have big impacts – like getting them to turn the lights off at HellWell at night to save energy. Or helping to create an easy-to-use calendar with a friendly interface so I don’t miss Bill Gates the next time he comes to GW.

GW needs to stop electing politicians practicing for a run at the city council and start electing students that are interested in changing GW for the better right now. Check out this student?
. He’s done some incredible stuff at Building JJ. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an SA president who was more turned on by accomplishing things than debating the JEC’s amicus curiae brief?

Logan said...

For the record, I wrote that signature bill, and to say that Kyle was at all supportive of it is wrong. Kyle offered to overturn his own decision at the very same senate meeting at which the vote occurred, but Vishal wanted a court case, which he then lost.