By Kate Brown/The Signal
Associated Students Incorporated held a controversial Bylaws Revisions Election to eliminate two board members last week. While 53 percent of votes were in favor of making changes to the document, the single-student advocacy of a former ASI board member made waves during the election.
“There is no good reason for us to lose voices,” Gilbert Songali, senior, Political Science, said.
Songalia, the former ASI Board member who represented Arts, campaigned against the change in board members, who work on a volunteer basis.
Upon approval of the ASI Bylaws revisions, the document now states there are four ASI Board representatives from the different academic colleges instead of six. This reflects the change of six to four academic colleges in Fall 2012.
Songalia commented on his concern that merging the representatives could be harmful to the group of students associated with the former College of the Arts.
“Whether or not Humanities can legitimately and fairly represent Arts is something that is going to have to be seen,” Songalia said.
The controversy heightened as Songalia campaigned Tuesday and Wednesday, passing out flyers and informational pages around campus against the bylaws revisions.
He made assertions that the student body was not properly educated on all information regarding the election.
“We should inform the students,” Songalia said. “It shouldn’t be a sneaky, let’s pass it through the nighttime situation.”
ASI responded to the opposing campaign by speaking to students in the quad.
“Not just myself but also the ASI Board of Directors that did pass the revisions of ASI bylaws went out there and educated the students on the changes,” Mariam Salameh, ASI president, said.
Results show 81 approved votes, 63 not approved and nine unable to be determined; a total voter count of 153, 1.5 percent of the student population.
Cesar Rumayor, Executive Director of ASI and University Student Union (USU) commented that although Songalia’s efforts did not prevail, he still had an impact on the election.
“The vote was closer than expected,” Rumayor said. “I am sure it had to do with an individual campaigning against the revisions.”
The election allowed students the opportunity to actively participate in the structural organization of the ASI Board of Directors by approving the editing process of their primary governing document.
The bylaws are written by members of the board themselves and work as rules to follow in relation, but not limited to: internal management, election of directors, format of meetings, types of officers and what officer duties entail.
The revised bylaws will go into effect this July, before the 2014-2015 academic school year.
“The vote is over and they’re [done],” Songalia said. “Will the school be better for it? I disagree but 81 student s thought otherwise.”