Kamyab Mashian PZ ‘19, Pitzer College's sophomore class representative, proposed a new amendment to Article X of the Pitzer College Student Senate Constitution to specify recall and impeachment procedures. Earlier this semester, Pitzer Student Senate attempted to recall the Communications Secretary from her post after she sent out several controversial emails.
The proposed Amendment adds a stipulation describing what to do if the Communications Secretary, who would normally inform a member of Senate that they have been recalled, is the one under question, which is what happened earlier this year, Mashian wrote in an email to TSL.
Chance Kawar PZ ’17, senior class president, wrote in an email to TSL that “the section dealing with recall and impeachment is perhaps the most poorly written and difficult to understand” part of the Constitution.
The amendment would distinguish between general recall, during which senators vote to remove a member from their post, and attendance-based recall, which automatically removes a member from their position due to too many unexcused absences from meetings, according to Mashian.
Rather than give the Senate new powers, this amendment would simply clarify existing procedures so that interpretation is not left up to the Executive Board, wrote Kawar. Mashian wrote that the Constitution currently does not clarify how many members' votes are needed to approve a general recall. This Amendment changes the requirement from a simple majority vote to a two-thirds majority.
Kawar wrote that he thinks this amendment could be the first step towards clarifying this section of the Constitution.
“The recall procedures of the Constitution have been invoked multiple times in the past several years, but in every case there has been significant confusion and conflict caused by a lack of clarity in the current language,” he wrote.
Although earlier this year the Communications Secretary resigned before a recall vote actually occurred, it was “clear that nobody knew how Article X was supposed to be interpreted,” wrote Mashian. He added that Article X had not been clarified earlier because no one expected a general recall to occur.
After the amendment is fully written, it will be sent to the Secretary, presented at the next meeting, and then voted on a week later, wrote Mashian. It needs a two-thirds vote majority to pass the legislature, after which it will be sent to the student body for approval with a simple majority, according to Kawar. Mashian hopes this process will take place before the end of the semester.
Mashian wrote that the Amendment is likely to pass and be implemented because he has “never known a constitutional amendment to fail once it was sent to the student body” and all the Senators he has spoken to are in favor of it. He hopes it will be voted on and approved before the end of the semester.
The lack of clarity in the Constitution has recently created several problems for the Student Senate, Mashian wrote. For example, last year the Senate was unable to pass a budget for Pitzer clubs due to not enough people being present to meet quorum.
“A number of Senators, including myself, are also working on amendments to the quorum process as well as a new set of bylaws for our Budget Committee and for Senate as a whole,” Mashian wrote. Although he doesn’t expect another general recall vote to occur soon, he hopes this Amendment will more clearly define the wording of the Constitution for future senators.
Although he has only viewed a first draft, Kawar wrote that he believes the changes represent an attempt to clear up the Constitution.
“Everyone benefits when the Student Senate Constitution is clear and impartial,” he wrote.