Amendments proposed by Portland State’s student government Senate will not appear on next week’s ballot, Judicial Review Board Chief Justice Aubrey Hoffman said in an email today. At issue is whether the senate submitted the proposed amendments on time and according to the proper procedure.
Amendments proposed by Portland State’s student government Senate will not appear on next week’s ballot, Judicial Review Board Chief Justice Aubrey Hoffman said in an email today.
At issue is whether the senate submitted the proposed amendments on time and according to the proper procedure.
Hoffman’s email referred to Article 11.1 of the current ASPSU constitution, which states that referendum proposals must be approved for unbiased wording by the judicial board before being placed on the ballot.
“To date, the senate’s constitutional amendment referendums have not been approved by the Judicial Board. Therefore, the referendum from the Senate must not be placed on this year’s ballot.” According to the constitution, the purpose of the Judicial Board’s review is to ensure that the wording of the proposal is “clear and objective and not be designed to unduly sway voters.”
“I realize the impact this decision will have but our responsibility is to uphold the Constitution,” Hoffman’s email continued. “The election starts Monday and we have run out of time for the Judicial Board to meet to approve this referendum prior to that date. We will not negatively impact the student body or their opinion of the student government by delaying the start of the election as a result of the student government’s inability to handle referendum matters and balloting in a timely manner.”
Sean Green, a student fee committee member and senate chair, responded to Hoffman’s email moments after it went out, explaining that the amendments had been emailed to
Emily Kunkel, a member of the Judicial Board.
“(Kunkel) sent me an e-mail before the yesterday’s Judicial Board meeting thanking me for sending the final language to all members of the Judicial Board,” Green said in the email. “It took took a lot of work to create those documents and get the input on the summary language from members of ASPSU (work that was completed in less than 24 hours). The Judicial Board made it very clear, on multiple occasions, that the amendments were going to be reviewed at yesterday’s meetings.”
This decision bars from the ballot the senate’s last-minute Dono-Phoenix amendment, which requires a new constitution proposed by a student to have the supporting signatures of 3 percent of the student body in order to be placed on the ballot. This amendment was crafted in response to the new constitution being proposed by former vice president Ethan Allen Smith. Smith’s constitution will appear on the ballot and even if the Dono-Phoenix had passed, wouldn’t have affected implementation of Smith’s amendment, if it passes.
The announcement by the judicial board bars the entire block of amendments proposed by the senate. The amendments addressed issues such as changes to the method of voting, allowing the senate to appoint one member of the Student Fee Committee, and aligning the terms of Judicial Board members with those of the rest of the ASPSU. The question of whether the ASPSU should focus building fees toward a fund for remodeling the Smith Memorial Student Union, which the senate decided to put on the ballot as a referendum rather than an amendment, will also be removed from the ballot.
Information on the senate’s proposed amendments can be found here: http://psuvanguard.com/news/student-government-eyes-changes/.
Information on the Dono-Phoenix amendments and the ongoing controversy surrounding Smith’s new constitution can be found here: http://psuvanguard.com/news/senate-faces-constitution-controversey/ and here http://psuvanguard.com/news/judicial-board-oks-new-constitution-for-ballot/
This is a developing story and will be updated.