For a few minutes Wednesday night, ASG Senate descended into anarchy, suspending parliamentary rules to conduct an out of order vote on changing Senate voting procedure.
Before Senate’s lawless interlude, Weinberg juniors Julia Watson and Erik Zorn were sworn in as President and Executive Vice President, respectively. The duo will replace Weinberg senior Ani Ajith and McCormick senior Alex Van Atta, who will serve as Student Groups Vice President in the upcoming year.
“Take it from someone who tried his very best,” Ajith said in his remarks to Senate on his term. “[Julia], you’re gonna kill it.”
Senate also approved appointments to the Academics committee and elected new members of the Rules and Cabinet Selection committees, before debating changes to their voting process.
Currently, Senate voice votes by default, reciting their ayes or nays in unison with no mechanism to tally votes. If the vote is too close to call, Senators stand and votes are tallied; this method is called a division vote. If desired, a member of Senate may call for a secret ballot, where votes are recorded tallied on paper ballots, but the results not announced to Senate.
Senators presented a general order to change how Senate prioritizes methods of voting. The order attempted to modify voting procedures, making the division method the default, and inserted procedures for demanding a roll call vote. Some senators voiced concerns about removing the possibility of a secret ballot, which they argued allowed senators to make controversial votes in confidence. Weinberg sophomore Harrison Flagler offered an amendment to keep the possibility of a secret ballot on all votes put before Senate.
For about 30 minutes, senators debated the proposed amendment, going back and forth about balancing privacy and accountability. After ultimately voting in favor of the amendment, Speaker of the Senate Noah Star announced that the order would have to be reintroduced as legislation at the next Senate session, unless Senate voted to suspend the rules and approve the order outside of parliamentary procedure.
Senate agreed to suspend parliamentary rules, and were about to vote on the order, until Weinberg junior and Parliamentarian Petros Karahalios notified Star about errors in the language of the order. Star ultimately decided to send the order to Rules Committee, where it will be reworked and presented to Senate next week.
Star apologized multiple times for the confusion, but noted that the events led to a “productive discussion.”
Senate also discussed allocating additional funds to fund advertising for JobCat, an online service that connects students with Evanston residents looking to hire them to complete small jobs. The legislation will be voted on as Old Business next week.