Photo via Facebook, graphic by Moonie Sohn/The Gazelle
During a special session of the General Assembly held on April 27, senior Amelia Kahn proposed a motion to introduce a resolution calling for the integration of Hall Council into Student Government. The motion read: “I hereby resolve that Hall Council, or any inter-residential Hall Council representative powers, including school wide residential policies, should be transferred to student government.”
Following a failed motion to table the issue by junior and then-treasurer Alex Nyikos, senior Brett Bolton motioned for the proposal to be voted on as referendum. This second motion passed with 25 votes in favor, 12 against and 1 abstention. The proposal will be voted on at a date to be determined.
After minor revisions, the resolution to be voted on in a student body referendum reads: “We hereby resolve that the representative powers of Hall Council or any Inter-Residential Hall Council on matters concerning school-wide residential policies should be transferred to the Student Government.”
Kahn justified the motion on the grounds that the policies made by the Office of Residential Life and Housing Services affect the entire student body. However, these policies are being made during Hall Council meetings, which have lower regular attendance than GAs.
Kahn said she had received a lot of positive feedback on the motion.
“We have a bizarre structure that was impeding progress, impeding transparency and impeding students getting a say," she said.
Junior Laura Evans, president of Hall Council, responded to some of the concerns raised.
“I think Hall Council is very transparent, so anybody can come to our meetings. We have minutes of every meeting event, including Executive Board meetings,” she said.
Kahn said, “My point is not that Hall Council is incompetent or that they're making bad decisions."
Kahn emphasized that she believed the appropriate body to handle these school wide decisions was Student Government, as its intention is to give as much say as possible to the whole student body.
“If Res Ed looks to Hall Council for policy suggestions, it shouldn’t feel that it has adequately gotten the [student] consensus” Kahn said. “Hall Council is very well-suited to monitoring residential issues and hammering out detailed, hard policy issues … but I imagine it would serve as a body that suggests policy to the GA.”
Evans said that Hall Council primarily deals with policies related to its own events. Issues that have been discussed include co-sponsorship with other groups and ensuring attendance at HC-sponsored events.
This resolution provoked a number of responses. Evans said that she was unaware of these concerns and questioned why they had not been brought to a Hall Council meeting or member beforehand. With the GA running overtime, Evans wondered whether adding another responsibility to Student Government would be beneficial or would add another layer of bureaucracy.
Kahn replied that she was not seeking to criticize Hall Council but cited the updated guest policy
as an example of a policy brought before Hall Council that was not discussed by a significant proportion of the student body.
Other students raised concerns about the legitimacy of Hall Council, since the election turnout for its Executive Board is much lower than that for the Student Government Executive Board.
Kahn said, “In practice … [Hall Council doesn’t] engage with nearly as many people.”
Evans disagreed with this sentiment.
"Every student is represented [as] every floor elects representatives or chooses its representatives," said Evans.
"We keep attendance and we remind [floor representatives that they did not attend]," she added.
Evans stressed the openness of Hall Council General Assemblies as well as her own availability to talk.
“The referendum doesn't accurately grasp the purpose of Hall Council and what it actually does. [Hall Council has] a General Assembly where people can bring these concerns up,” Evans said.
The April 27 GA also saw several other amendments voted on. The amendment to create the Global Vice President position and add the Global Student Council
to the Student Government constitution was passed with 25 votes for, 4 votes against and 4 abstentions. The amendment to create a senator role
to represent the NYUAD student body on the Student Senators Council and University Senate at NYU New York failed to gain the required two-thirds majority with 17 votes for, 10 votes against and 8 abstentions. Student Government has stated in the GA minutes that they will investigate the implications of this latter vote.
Correction: April 30, 2014
This article was previously headlined "GA Approves Referendum on integration of Hall Council into Student Government." It has now been changed to "GA Moves to Create a Referendum on Hall Council, Student Government Relations" to better reflect the article.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the referendum vote will take place in conjunction with the school-wide election on May 6 to May 7. The vote will take place at a yet-to-be-determined date.
Connor Pearce is the opinion editor. Riaz Howey is the deputy news editor. Email them at email@example.com