For the first time in two years, the undergraduate student government passed a constitutional amendment. The unanimous vote cleared the first of three hurdles required for the change to take effect.
The amendment, passed on Wednesday, Sept. 25 by the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico Senate, would hamper the vice president’s ability to appoint senators in the event of a vacancy.
"It was a smart idea to think about what would happen if we needed to reach outside of the spring 2019 election to potentially appoint new senators," current ASUNM Vice President Madelyn Lucas said, noting that these types of appointments are rare.
Every candidate who ran for Senate in spring 2019 became a senator, nearly triggering the process in question.
In order for the amendment to become law, two more hurdles remain.
First, the amendment needs to be approved by the student body in the next Senate election in fall 2019. Second, the change has to be approved by the Board of Regents, UNM’s highest governing body.
Every semester, half of the ASUNM Senate is up for reelection. Senator’s terms last one year from the semester they were elected. Therefore, a senator elected in the fall of 2019 would have to run for reelection in fall 2020 in order to keep their seat.
Under the changed constitution, the vice president would appoint a new senator within 10 business days of the election. The sitting members of the Senate would then vote to confirm that person. The appointee would require a two-thirds majority to be confirmed.
Previously, the vice president had more discretion and time in the process. Before 14 business days, the vice president would have to appoint for vacant seats. The appointments required a three-quarters approval by the Senate.
About $15,500 was dispersed in appropriations on Wednesday night.
Healing Harmonies, a student group providing music therapy, was appropriated $300 for an electric piano to accompany singing to retirement home residents.
Peers for Advocacy, Wellness, & Safety (PAWS) was appropriated $350 for a yoga event.
Quetzalkuetlachtli, a student group promoting intercultural research with a focus on Mesoamerica, was appropriated $779 for a speaking event.
The Society of Physics Student was appropriated $1,142 to fund fees and travel to a conference.
Alex Hiett is a freelance news reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Dailylobo