UCOSA Passes Legislation to Change Bylaws
Newly elected chair Tate Atkinson presides of Committee of the Whole to review new legislation before voting on whether or not to bring it to the floor. (Ryan Naeve/The Vista)
Legislation CB18-202 was passed with 15 votes in favor of the bill by the University of Central Oklahoma’s Student Association during a congressional meeting on April 9 that amends a section in the bylaws holding members accountable for violations.
“In the case that a Senator has a grievance against another Senator, including Congressional Leadership, legislation shall be drafted, which outlines the grievances,” Amended bylaws Chapter 2, Section 7 reads. “This legislation must be passed through any committee, voted on and passed with a 2/3 vote of the UCO Student Congress. In the case of the legislation passing, the Senator with grievances will resign.”
Remington Dean, UCOSA Chair was the sole author of CB18-202. The legislation was reviewed by Internal Affairs and recommended for “Do Pass”.
“The thought behind this came in three folds. The first, section A of the current bylaw does not state who is supposed to contact the member in question. Secondly, section B states that only the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, of Chair of ART can write the legislation to expel the member,” Dean said. “This limits the power of all senators because the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and ART Chair may all be friends and not want to write legislation that expels one another. The new version allows all senators to write the said legislation.”
As for the third fold, Dean said that the way that Chapter 2, Section 7 was written before the amendment made it sound like if a person were to get a speeding ticket then they should be kicked out of congress. Specifically, Dean is referring to the wording “Oklahoma state law”.
Dean said that the new legislation is more focused on a due process system instead of relying on a single complaint complaint from one person.
“It’s [the legislation] currently taking something that is a solid stance on what constitutes removing somebody from their position,” said Colten Kidd, UCOSA senator, before CB18-202 had been voted on. “You have to violate specifically some Oklahoma law or one of the UCOSA governing documents. Whenever you say, ‘issue a grievance’, that opens it up to a grey interpretation, a very open interpretation.”
The original wording said that if a member of UCOSA had violated some Oklahoma state law, some UCOSA Constitutional Law, some UCOSA Statute or some UCO Student Congress Bylaw then that member would simply be asked to resign as stipulated by the following sections A, B, C and D recommend.
Before being amended, section A said that the member would need to be emailed by UCO email and asked to resign, but it does not specifically name who should send that email.
“I agree that we could probably make it [Chapter 2, Section 7] more specific on who takes the initial step with that email,” Kidd said before the legislation was voted on. “We could definitely expand upon that, but this is not the way to do it.”
Kidd said he believes there are some necessary changes that need to be made to the bylaws because he finds it hard to believe that when the bylaws were first written that UCOSA got everything 100 percent right.
However, Kidd said that UCOSA needs to carefully consider any potential consequences before bylaws are changed.
The bill had passed after a debate with Kidd and Sen. Camillo Ulloa against, and Dean and Sen. Joshua Barnett for the legislation and then it passed on a roll-call vote.
“I think that because of this legislation passing, it shows the integrity of UCOSA,” Ulloa said after the bill was passed. “Which I feel that I would probably rather resign as a senator because we are talking about law. It’s black or white. Follow the law or not.”
Before Monday’s meeting, UCOSA violated the Oklahoma Meetings Act by not posting the agenda outside of the UCOSA office or online for the April 9 Congressional Meeting within the appropriate time frame.
“In addition to the advance public notice in writing required to be filed for regularly scheduled meetings, all public bodies shall, at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to such meetings, display public notice of said meeting, setting forth thereon the date, time, place and agenda for said meeting, such twenty-four (24) hours prior public posting shall exclude Saturdays and Sundays and holidays legally declared by the State of Oklahoma,” OMA Section 311 under A, 9.
The agenda for April 9 was uploaded to UCOSA’s OrgSync page April 8 at 2:12 p.m., but without posting it publicly outside of their office in 24 hours before the meeting, excluding weekends and holidays, then it was a violation.