I’m sorry to post up a storm (but I’m on a roll!).  Here’s my reading of the applicable part of the CC constitution (which I’ve copied below the fold).

Article VII, Sec. B requires that any amendment be “proposed by four-fifths majority of the College Council” and “ratified by a two-thirds majority of the student body voting in a referendum.” Article VII, Sec. A then requires that, for a referenda to be valid, at least 1/3 of students must vote in it. Section A (“Referenda”) also requires that two weeks notice be given, but Section B of Article VII (“Constitutional Amendments”) modifies Section A, and Section B only requires that “College Council [] take appropriate measures to inform and educate the student body about the changes proposed.” In short, I don’t actually think that there’s a two-week notice requirement for referenda that amend the constitution.

So, to properly amend the CC constitution you need to:

(1) have a proposal supported by 4/5 majority in CC;
(2) publicize the resulting referendum to the student body in an “appropriate” way that “inform[s] and educate[s] the student body about the changes proposed”;
(3) hold a vote in which at least 1/3 of students participate;
(4) have at least 2/3 of “the student body voting in [the] referendum” support the amendment.

How did that pan out here?

(1) I don’t know what the CC support for this proposal was.  Did the CC even propose this?  I know the CC voted (11-9, I believe) to form this task force, but that’s different from supporting the task force’s proposal (and, regardless, 11-9 falls far short of the 4/5 majority required);
(2) One can argue that if two weeks of publication is the minimum required notice for normal referenda, <two weeks is not “appropriate” for something as important as a constitutional amendment abolishing CC.  But I’m not sympathetic to such a formalistic argument regarding notice, especially since the Section B requirement regarding notice is, unlike the Sec. A requirement, not so rigidly defined.  Because I haven’t heard anyone raise non-formalistic objections to the adequacy of the notice given, I’m going to assume that it was adequate and that this requirement was therefore met;
(3) There was a vote with over 1/3 student participation;
(4) Well more than 2/3 of the students who voted supported the amendment.

I see (1) as the most significant obstacle here to legitimacy.  And to be clear, I don’t think that’s a minor obstacle.  Can anyone weigh in regarding CC’s support (or lack thereof) for this proposal?

Isn’t this all a question for the CC parliamentarian?  


Print  •  Email