As you might know, I’m on the Consttitutional Review Committee. I get to be one of 17 people who will attempt to rewrite the Union Constitution this year.
As your representative, it behooves me to let you know what sort of changes I’m thinking about proposing. I welcome your feedback.
Snatches of thought:
- The Senate has historically, well, sucked. How can we fix this?
- The Problem: Senate is set up as a legislative body, but it can pass no real “laws”.
- Lets take an analogy from like real life: a person in NYC has so many people that they elect: county eeec, local council member, borough rep, major, assemblyperson, state senate, governor, comptroller, state AG, House rep, 2 senators, + president + more local politicians that I forget. In theory, having all those positions be elected increases accountability. In reality, normal people can’t keep track of all those people they vote on, so those politicians are not accountable to anyone, since they don’t have bosses, only voters. A solution is to decrease the number of directly electable positions, but instead allow the recall. That way the people voters vote on are more likely to actually be scrutinized.
- We could decrease the number of senators, so that each election is more important, the “quality” of senator goes up, etc.
- People have a low opinion of the Union because their interaction with it is usually the senate. So many people have come up to me and said something along the lines of “At first I thought you were just exaggerating or crazy when you talked about how bad the Senate was, but I went to a meeting yesterday and now I understand completely.”
- Does the Senate have a function, really? All it really needs to do is charter/recognize clubs.
- Let’s be honest; all the power in the Union is found in the E-Board and F-Board.
- Let’s ignore F-Board for the purposes of this conversation: it seems to work more-or-less fine.
- If all the power is really in the E-Board, and most of the E-board is unelected, we seem to have a problem here.
- There are alternate models to democracy than just representational voting.
- Brandeis has less citizens than Athens did. Brandeis isn’t that big.What’s wrong with direct democracy?
- Voting costs nothing, and with the internet, is so easy.
- The Union doesn’t legislate. What power does it have? It’s power lies in interaction with adults, appointments to committees, and in controlling the flow of our money.
- If you want to reform the Union, reform the process of appointments.
- Logically, the answer to all this is to allow the Senate to confirm all appointments, or to even make the appointments themselves.
- But! The Senate sucks!
- I want more direct democracy at Brandeis! I just don’t know how to fit that ideal into reality. I need ideas, here!
- Non-monetary power in the Union is concentrated in a mostly-unelected e-board and in the people they appoint to University Committees.
- Committees are where policy is made: let’s focus on that.
- IRV voting is a more democratic form of voting, and is easy to implement and understand. We have to switch to that. Tufts, MIT, Harvard, and a bunch of other schools have already switched to that system.
What do you think should be changed about the Union Constitution?