Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Amendment passes to restrict Treasury seats by school

Despite the issues Senate has in filling all of its seats and the lack of candidates to run competitive Senate elections in the last few elections, Treasury passed an amendment Tuesday night to move closer toward the Senate model of seat allocation.

Senior Michele Hall, who wrote the amendment, believes the changes will make Treasury more representative of diverse student interests and increase participation from underrepresented schools.

“In my time on Treasury there was a need for a lot more voices and thought processes on Treasury,” Hall said.

Under the old system, Treasury seats were filled by the candidates who received the highest number of votes. By the rules of the new amendment, one seat will be allocated to each undergraduate school per Treasury election.

If the candidate from the school is not listed on the ballot, any school member with 75 write-in votes could win the school-designated seat, and if no one runs, the seat is available without regard to school.

Part of Hall’s presentation showed the allocation of students and treasury seats across schools to point out the business school has more seats than the engineering school, even though more students attend the engineering school.

Although some believed business school students had lower chances of election, senior Divya Verma, senior and treasury representative, believed that might be in the interest of students at-large.

“As far as the argument that this amendment is targeted to the business school, maybe, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing,” Verma said.

Many representatives in support of the amendment believed the amendment was written carefully enough to reward voices from smaller schools for taking initiative and running, while still reverting the seats to be available to any student if there was insufficient interest from a school.

“I’m still in favor, it’s a great way to begin the conversation to have more diversity on treasury. It’s really no harm no foul if this doesn’t work out as intended, but it’s a first step to make treasury more desirable to be on,” Verma said.

Senior Michael Cohen pointed out that an amendment driving for diversity could look beyond just the different undergraduate schools.

“There’s plenty of diversity within the business school. Being a b-school student isn’t a limiting factor to your contribution or personality,” Cohen said.

Junior Ish Fofana framed the discussion differently, by suggesting the business school wasn’t brought down by the amendment, but rather other schools can prevent the business school’s dominance in Treasury.

“I don’t think you should see the Olin School as a victim, I think it opens the space for students from other schools to be on Treasury. I think Treasury just happens to be dominated by Olin School students, and it’s great to get more diverse voices,” Fofana said.

In the end, the amendment passed largely because treasury representatives felt that Student Union’s recruitment and retention issues required a signaling effort to make underrepresented students willing to participate on Treasury.

“I hear over and over again from people who have run in the past that something has to be done. We need something pen on paper that says we’re open to other people,” sophomore Chris Dijs said.

The amendment passed with a vote of 13-2-2.

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878