Petition to amend ASR constitution gains support

Sabina Lalani, an Association of Student Representatives’ first year senator, recently began circulating a petition to amend the ASR constitution in hopes of allowing students serving on Res Life or the Academic Honor Council the option of also being elected to ASR.

The ASR constitution””specifically Article II, Section 6″”currently prohibits undergraduate students from concurrently serving as leaders in more than one of the following organizations: Residential Life, the Student and University Conduct Boards, Academic Honor Council, the Trinitonian, the Mirage and ASR.

The constitution also states that “The president/chair/director of organizations eligible to apply for funding proposals” is included in that list.

According to Joe Moore, president of ASR, “Organizations eligible to apply for funding proposals,” includes Greek Council, Student Ambassadors, Trinity University Volunteer Action Community, Trinity Diversity Connection and the Student Programming Board because they all submit yearlong budget proposals to ASR.

Lalani’s petition, which had received approximately 200 signatures as of Wednesday, aims to exempt members of Residential Life and the Academic Honor Council from this rule.

According to Moore, there are two avenues by which the constitution can be amended. The first involves approval by two-thirds of ASR before the amendment is voted upon by the student body in either the general election or a special election. The other option is for a student to create a petition and get 250 signatures. If the petition reaches this threshold, it is sent on to the president of ASR who then orchestrates a campus-wide vote.

According to Evan Lewis, ASR sophomore senator and vice-president elect, this is not the first time this year that ASR has reviewed membership requirements.

“We kind of looked at that at the end of this term, but nothing really got hashed out,” Lewis said.

According to Lalani, who began the petition because she wanted to serve concurrently on Residential Life and ASR, there are others that share in her predicament.

“There were maybe 10 or 15 students that said “˜yeah, it would be really awesome if we could do both,'” Lalani said.

While there may be benefits for some members of the Trinity community, others worry that the change will create a conflict of interest.

“I feel that ASR and Res Life fulfill different functions on campus,” Lewis said. “In the constitution, ASR is specifically charged with representing the student body in any alterations of the students’ rights and responsibilities. Basically that means that ASR is on the side of student interests, while I feel like Res Life is primarily charged with enforcing university policy and interests, and that puts them on opposite sides. Most of the time university interests and student interests are aligned, but sometimes they are not.”

Senior Cody Miller agrees with Lewis, pointing out other possible issues.

“Being an RM or an RA is a huge time commitment. ASR is allegedly a huge time commitment also,” Miller said. “I don’t see how one could juggle that effectively without it affecting their ability to hold their positions of leadership, and also if they were holding [both positions], I feel like that extends their sphere of influence too far and it kind of disrupts the systems of checks and balances we have here at Trinity.”

Lalani countered the notion that it is impossible to handle the two positions, arguing that effective time management can enable a student to successfully fulfill both roles, and asserted that the amendment is primarily intended to increase student representation.

“I just kind of wanted to reiterate, this isn’t just to allow students to do Res Life and ASR. It’s to allow students to vote for who they want to and it allows every student on campus to be able to run for ASR because they are the representatives of the university. You can’t just say that because you’re doing [Big Six], you can’t be in ASR.”