Amendment to diversify Treasury passes by wide margin
In a 375-80 landslide, undergraduates voted to approve changes to the Student Union constitution that aim to diversify SU Treasury.
The group charged with allocating a sizable percentage of SU’s budget each year is known for underrepresentation from some schools, particularly art and architecture; Treasury currently has no representatives with a primary major in either school.
Although the amendment reserves spots in Treasury for representatives from each school, assuming they run or garner at least 75 write-in votes, only about 7 percent of the overall undergraduate population voted in Thursday’s special election.
With 455 total votes cast, the numbers paled in comparison to the typical SU election, but by having the decision made in a special election, the changes will apply to the general election at the end of March.
“For there to be a real, tangible impact on Treasury, then the next step is who’s going to run from underrepresented schools,” senior Sean Janda, speaker for SU Treasury, said. “Unlike Senate, the amendment doesn’t force us to have a certain number of seats reserved for people from various schools. But I think this sends a strong signal as a good first step to show that we as Student Union and we as a student body really value that representation.”
Janda said that, given the fact that most people vote in general elections because they have been encouraged by friends campaigning for office, 455 votes is fairly respectable.
“It was advertised…as well as could be expected given the circumstances,” Janda said. “I think turnout’s something where it’s not really a binary like good [or] bad. I think we can always work to improve turnout in every election we have. And that’s something that should always be a goal.”
Senior and SU President Matthew Re noted that the special election was open longer than in the past, with the polls open from midnight to midnight as opposed to during regular business hours. He noted that while not many students voted, the count should still be statistically significant, according to conversations he’s had with Assistant Dean Tim Bono.
“There are not many provisions in SU’s constitution or statutes that require election data with a certain number of people voting,” Re said. “We just kind of do our best with what we’ve got.”
He noted that one student replied to his email imploring undergraduates to vote by suggesting that Re’s request was somewhat confusing and came off as one-sided. But Re said he does not believe the change should adversely affect anyone.
“The idea is that it allows folks from underrepresented schools to come serve on Treasury and get some sort of representation,” Re said. “Hopefully it doesn’t have a significant impact in sending somebody out of Treasury.”