UCOSA Members Work Towards Clarity
Members of the UCO's Student Association, UCO's student government, are working together this semester to completely rewrite the bylaws which govern their legislative branch.
Chair of Student Congress, Caleb Shaw, middle, speaks to Congress at UCOSA weekly meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. Vice Chair of Student Congress Stockton Duvall, right, and Secretary of Student Congress, Kalina Popova, left, join in on the meeting. (Photo/ Vista Archives)
Members of the UCO’s Student Association, UCO’s student government, are working together this semester to completely rewrite the bylaws which govern their legislative branch.
Caleb Power, parliamentarian for UCOSA’s Student Congress, and members of the Accountability, Reform and Transparency Committee (ART) have started work on clearing up rules and bylaws that exist in the UCOSA Legislature.
Power said that the reason that a complete rewrite is the direction they are leaning towards is because they don’t want to write something that conflicts with existing bylaws.
“The ART Committee will be rewriting this as a whole, hopefully with support from the Internal Affairs Committee, which consists of the chairs of all the committees and the three congressional executive officers. We want to make sure that ART is completely open about rewriting it,” Power said.
In addition to the rewrite, one of the pieces of legislation that will be worked on this semester is the Congressional Statutory Migration Act, according to Power.
Currently congressional committees are defined within the bylaws, which are the documents that govern the congress. However, Power said that the existing bylaws have no type of accountability in them.
“If we have a problem with something in the bylaws, then the one person who has the final say is the chair of student congress,” Power said.
What this bill would do would be to solidify certain items inside the UCOSA bylaws that would allow members of the congress to bring in the UCOSA Supreme Court if there was a disagreement within Student Congress that could not be resolved.
Last Fall on Nov. 28, the UCOSA Legislature met to discuss three bills and one resolution that Power authored.
“In the past, we’ve had conflicts between what is being done and what is written in the law and we can’t have a student government that does something differently than what is written down. It is not very transparent and it’s not very accountable,” Power said.
The bills, which were derived from a list that UCOSA advisors and ART collectively came up with, were intended to address issues in the current laws that either were confusing or something that had not worked in the past.
Power said that the intention of the bills, CB16-102, CB16-103, CB16-104 and resolution CR116-110, were to improve the clarity and the rules by which UCOSA members are supposed to abide.
CB16-102 was a modification of the campaign rules that candidates need to follow.
“For everything that UCOSA does, generally the [UCOSA] Supreme Court is the final word, but for elections it is the Election Commission,” Power said.
The Election Commission is comprised of 5 people who are handpicked by each member of the UCOSA Executive Board.
“The idea here was that we wanted to make sure that all election problems that happened were decided by the Election Commission and not the [UCOSA] Supreme Court because the Supreme Court doesn’t really meet up that often,” Power said.
Everything else the in CB16-102 was just a clarification of what already existed in the law, Power said.
CB16-103 and resolution CR116-110 were coupled together for Student Congress to decide when elections are to be held, which would modify the election timeline.
CB16-104 was also an effort to clarify existing definitions with the UCOSA statutes.
According to Caleb Shaw, chair of the UCO Student Congress, each of the bills and the resolution authored by Power passed unanimously on the floor.
“You can tie transparency into it [authoring the legislation] but it was more about making everything line up and make sense than it was to make everything transparent. It still strives to be transparent, but it wasn’t the entire goal,” Power said.
Additionally, the only modification made to the legislation was within CB16-102, which kept the money that can be spent by individual candidates during a campaign at a $1,000 limit.
Candidates running for UCOSA President and Vice-President have a $2,000 limit.
The Spring 2017 Legislative Session will convene for their first meeting of the semester on Jan. 23, according to Shaw.
The UCOSA Legislature meets every Monday morning in the Nigh University Center’s Will Rogers Room at 1 p.m.