Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Harsh Words about the Next Generation

This evening I was treated in a way I felt completely inappropriate given my history and standing in the student government. I haven't been exposed to such obvious and calculated guile in some time. Honestly, the last time I can think of this sort of behavior was before we took back the student government for students of vision and responsibility (both are requisite for good leadership). Allow me to explain what I'm talking about and you can be the judge.

For whatever reason, the rules of the Student Technology Fee Committee (STFC) require any fee increase to be approved by the student governments. For reasons that are quite irrelevant to this discussion, I oppose a fee increase proposed by the STFC. The proposal must be approved by the GPSS and the ASUW. I am confident in my ability to defeat the proposal at the GPSS meeting tomorrow, but as a sign of professional courtesy I took my concerns to the ASUW Senate as well. In fact, I did one better than that... I went to the committee responsible for the resolution.

Now, in general, people like me (good orators) don't go to committee. The more effective route is to keep your issue lurking until the floor debate and then raise it just before final passage... essentially giving the committee of jurisdiction the run around. I chose, stupidly it would appear, to go to the committee and raise my concerns, which I did last week. I did so with such effectiveness that the committee chair, who was hostile to me the moment I sat down at his committee, felt it prudent to table the resolution a week to allow the chair of STFC to come before the committee and defend the fee increase. Fine, I thought, he'll come, we'll battle it out at the committee, and things will be settled. Well, no.

Tonight the STFC chair did come to the committee, he did speak, and then the committee chair asked if we had any questions. I did not have questions, I had responses. Once it was determine that no questions were forthcoming and that people wanted to actually talk about the resolution, the chair said we didn't have any more time and a decision had to be made. When asked if the committee could table the resolution again he lied, saying that if we didn't make a decision tonight the resolution would be tabled indefinitely (the rule allows Steering to grant an extension). A vote was then taken to report out favorably, 6 to 5.

To make it perfectly clear, I was never given a chance to respond to the comments of the STFC chair. As far as I know he was never briefed as to my concerns. In general, the charge of the committee to explore and evaluate resolutions with expertice was completely subverted. What we have is a stupid 6 to 5 decision made without relevant consideration for the implications of such a decision.

It was stupid and an insulting slap in the face after I tried to respect the committee process. ASUW readers, take note, I intend to make that clear to the Senate next week.

3 comments:

ethan said...

Could you not say at the time that the motion could have been tabled for an additional week?

Sean Kellogg said...

Two points for Mr. John. Yes, I could have corrected him... but I would have been just as bad as him, failing to give the respect due. Although he probably doesn't know this, only the chair of the committee can request an extension, so if he wanted it to die that week he could have done so.

The reality of the matter is he lied to his committee, so we'll see if they are at all upset by the outcome after next weeks meeting when I say something about it.

srcastic said...

I don't know who the committee chair was, but I would not have felt it improper to correct him politely. It is much better to fully deliberate the matter in committee, so that the presentation to the entire Senate can be better informed. You would have been respecting the Senate as a whole, which is more important than respecting the sensibilities of a committee chair that is not well versed in procedure.

Frankly, if I were in the Senate, I would motion from the floor to send the matter back to committee, and I would justify the motion with the fact that there was no sustained deliberation.