Student Assembly rendered powerless

During their special session meeting Tuesday night, ASUU Vice President John Poelman told Assembly representatives that any changes they made to a resolution giving student support to consider a hard-waiver health insurance plan could set the process back two-months.

A hard-waiver plan would make showing proof of health insurance a pre-requisite to attend the U.

Redbook, the U’s constitution, requires the Senate to vote on any amendment change made by the Assembly, but their next schedule meeting is at the end of January.

Liz Clark, senate chairwoman, said she could send the minutes from the meeting to all the senators and ask for an electronic vote rather than calling a formal session. But other representatives were afraid that the Senate would get into a debate requiring a formal meeting.

“I’m afraid we would be gridlocked the rest of the semester,” said Barbara Spencer of the college of humanities.

This contributed to representatives voting against an amendment made by Elliot Scruggs to cut the word “consider,” from the amendment asking for a hard-waiver plan to “close the door on implementation.” The body voted against a second amendment that would have required the Senate and Assembly to vote on any policy before it is implemented.

A representative suggested that the Senate hold another special meeting before Fall Semester ends, but student government rules require a month advance notice and a vote to arrange a special meeting.

Another representative suggested that administrators begin their investigation presuming that the legislation will pass in January, but the motion was shot down after Jason Gillman of the Student Health Advisory Committee said he couldn’t approach insurance companies for bids without something concrete.

Before entering debate over amendments, many representatives said they were concerned that students were confused about the issue.

“I would love to see more education on the issue before making any big jumps,” Scruggs said.

Eric Vogeler, from the college of Humanities and Chronicle opinion columnist, said “with more education students tend to favor a hard-waiver.”

Questioning whether the Assembly representatives were educated enough Jessica Elder, from the college of social and behavioral science said “I don’t feel educated enough to make a decision right now.”

In the end, an overwhelming majority voted to pass the legislation without changing a word, meaning the administration has student support to investigate and consider a hard-waiver policy.

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