Wednesday, May 22

J-Board denies council proposal


An effort made by some members of the Undergraduate Students
Association Council to increase the accountability of its
appointees hit a brick wall recently, as it was ruled
unconstitutional by the council’s judicial board.

After a two-and-a-half-hour hearing, USAC’s Judicial Board
found that new accountability guidelines made by council were in
violation of USAC bylaws.

The case was filed by USAC General Representative Josh Lawson in
mid-September, two weeks after council had approved the
guidelines.

Co-written by council’s three executive officers, the
guidelines were intended simply to make presidential appointees
more accountable, said President Anica McKesey.

Among other things, the guidelines called for each presidential
appointee to attend two council meetings each quarter and make an
informal presentation to council about their respective committees
each year.

The guidelines outline additional responsibilities for
appointees of three committees: the Associated Students of UCLA
Communications Board, the ASUCLA Board of Directors and the Student
Fee Advisory Committee.

The significance of the three committees should make appointees
to these committees even more accountable, many councilmembers
believe.

But Lawson said the guidelines were flawed on many levels.

Lawson called the guidelines an “affront” to those
committee members who were assigned prior to the guidelines being
created.

“The students had no warning about these new requirements
when they signed up. It’s like a professor giving an exam on
materials never assigned,” Lawson said in a press
release.

Lawson’s second concern was that members of the
Communications Board would be subject to further scrutiny by
council. The board oversees Student Media and all of its
publications, including the Daily Bruin.

If appointees of this board were subject to close review, they
may also be influenced by the politics on council, Lawson said.

Beyond his initial concerns, Lawson said he also discovered that
the guidelines were in violation of the bylaws.

According to the bylaws, committee members already have several
stated responsibilities.

“We do have a need for accountability, but if we would
enforce the current guidelines, we would accomplish everything we
want to accomplish,” Lawson said.

But McKesey said more accountability is needed for some of these
appointees who are receiving “fat stipends” and do not
seem to be fulfilling their responsibilities.

Council can overturn a J-Board decision with a two-thirds
vote.

The only other option for enforcing the additional guidelines
would be to amend the USAC bylaws.

A proposal to change council bylaws may be looked into and
brought to council in the future, but definitely not anytime soon,
McKesey said.

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