echoes of Illinois

In our own bizarre echo of what’s going on in Illinois, the Senate seats now have prospective candidates. I’ve been looking at some of the legislation, and I think that it’s possible that the Senate Secretariat might have overstepped its bounds in offering the seats out.

36.4.b – If a vacancy arises on the senate, the vacancy must be filled, in the case of an elected member, in the manner specified by the senate.

Now, there are a number of different regulations that are out and floating around there on the Internets. The one being referenced in the letter by the University mentioned in the previous post is as follows:

3.m – In cases were a vacancy exists for a Representative of the Students to a Senate, such a position shall be offered – in the order of the number of votes received – to the persons who received the most number of votes in the most recent election to that office who were not elected. If no such persons are willing or able to accept the position, the vacancy shall filled by Senate on the recommendation of the Student Council of the Vancouver or Okanagan campus as applicable.

Check out the date on the previous regulation. It is prior to another document with conflicting regulation. This document is as follows:

14. If a vacancy cannot be filled by the manner specified in Section 13 above due to lack of candidates, or if the position is as a student senator, it shall be filled:
a. In the case of student senators, by resolution of the Student Council of the Alma Mater Society except for the education student senator, in which case by election;

Was the Vancouver Senate in error when it voted to approve new rules for itself that conflicted with something passed by another body, or were they updating the rules? The most recent (and therefore arguably current) regulations are those in the 26 March document, rather than the document that is being referenced by the Secretariat. If this was a Council of Senates decision, this would be governed by the following legislation.

University Act
38.2  (1) The president, the board, the Vancouver Senate, the Okanagan Senate or the council may direct that a matter that the Vancouver senate or the Okanagan senate might consider, is considering or has considered in the exercise of that senate’s powers under section 37 is referred to the council for consideration and disposition.

The Argument for Using the Newer Regulations

I would think that such a clause exists to make sure that the UBC-V and UBC-O Senates maintain separate jurisdictions, and can still do things even if something related to that thing had been passed by the Council of Senates. If no such directive has been given, the regulations for the elections of members of the Senate would be the jurisdiction of the Student Council of the Alma Mater Society. This would rest on the requirement that a specific directive would be required for the reservation and disallowance of local Senate powers.

If it were the case that the referral of any powers established under section 37 were able to be done implicitly, there would undoubtedly be conflicts, or, alternatively, the Council would eventually hold all the power, making the two smaller Senates irrelevant. In my opinion, the spirit of section 38.2.1 would be to establish explicit procedures by which reservation and disallowance of local Senate powers is achieved. In lieu of this, the most current regulations would govern the elections of the Senate. As the 26 March 2008 Rules were the most current governing document of the Senate elections process at the time that the vacancies arose, the regulations therein would be the most appropriate to follow: AMS Council should appoint the Senators.

Mind you, I’m not a lawyer, and it’s entirely possible that this is completely wrong, and certainly more than likely that at least some of it is. Nevertheless, this is something that the AMS should probably look into, seeing as how they would not want to cede the responsibility of appointing Senators needlessly.

Also, if you were wondering what Gossip Guy meant when he said “going to go all Naylor “, you have your answer now…


4 Responses to “echoes of Illinois”

  1. 1 Chris
    January 31, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Two things:

    1) That March 2008 date refers to the last time *any* section of that document was updated, not every clause therein. The regulation you’re quoting is much older.

    2) The regulation you’ve quoted is for “vacancies”.. the three seats in question are not vacant, and may not be vacated until A) the current student senators either decide not to remain, or decide to resign, or B) another election occurs next January for the April 2010-March 2011 term. What you’ve quoted is the language for a “mid-term” vacancy.

  2. 2 Darren
    February 1, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    What Chris said.

    University Act 36(2):
    The term of office of a member of the senate elected under section 35 (2) (h), 35.1 (2) (h) or (3) (h) or 35.2 (2) (h) or appointed under section 35.2 (2) (k) is one year and after that until a successor is elected.

    For three of the five, no successor has been elected. We don’t know which three. The first step is to see which of the five (if any) are willing to continue. If less than three can serve an extra year, there will be a vacancy (in April, or whenever they can serve until). But you don’t fill a vacancy until you have a vacancy to fill, Alberta’s senate elections notwithstanding.

  3. 3 Geoff Costeloe
    February 3, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I had actually heard that the posts had not been offered yet to current Senators and weren’t going to be. As one of the only two people who put their names forward to run, I really hope that this is put to a byelection. Have some senators (other than myself) been offered spots and accepted them?

  4. 4 radicalbeer
    February 3, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Yes, Alex has gotten a letter. It is linked from this post.

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