The constitutionality of ASPSU votes are in doubt after only 10 senators showed up to an emergency meeting held the Saturday before finals.
The majority of the senators that came to the meeting campaigned on the Murphy/Blauer ticket. None of the senators from the Wallace/Zhu ticket showed up to the meeting and president Wallace made only a late appearance to share her nominations for senate.
Because of the low turnout, business went faster than usual and the senators passed changes that would make a two-thirds vote from the senators present at a meeting sufficient for amending and creating laws. In addition, they amended the current bylaws, rejected five senate nominations and approved one senate finance committee member.
The current constitution requires a quorum of 50 percent plus one of the 25 members of the senate, which translates to 13 senators to conduct all official business.
“We had quorum,” senator Shahriyar Smith said. “They’re saying that quorum is 13, but I have a legal argument that says otherwise.”
“The attorney general has ruled that 13 is quorum,” said Sally Eck, advisor to the ASPSU government. “So the votes that you (the senators) make tonight might not stick.”
Now the question remains whether all the votes and changes made during the meeting are valid.
“I don’t exactly feel comfortable making votes either way without the other senators there,” said senator Joe Johnson, who entered a number of absentee votes. “There are none from the WahZhu crew here at this meeting.”
President Kristin Wallace showed up about an hour late and had to briefly describe her five nominations to fill the remaining senate vacancies since none of the appointees showed up.
“If the appointees want this position so bad, then why aren’t they here,” senator Rebeca Pierce asked. She said she, like the absent nominees and senators, had school obligations, but despite the conflicts, found the time to come in.
The senators voted down all of the nominees, except for the addition to the Student Fee Committee of Sam Frahm, who was the only appointee to attend the meeting. The senators that did attend continued the regular proceedings despite the fact that Eck warned them they were likely just wasting their time.
“It’s great practice to go through the (voting) process, but you are going to have to practice it again,” Eck said.
Smith argued the meeting was in fact fully legitimate and that quorum was met.
“In either case, a conflict or ambiguity exists in the constitution that renders it incapable of mandating quorum,” Smith said.
In spite of the questions and the complexity of the bureaucratic process, the 10 senators proceeded. Senate Chair Pro-Tempore Joshua W. Morris kept members of the senate in check, halting those that spoke out of turn or veered from official procedure.