Pitzer Senate Proposes Constitutional Amendment To Expand Executive Branch

Graphic by Sarah Wong

The Pitzer Student Senate voted Feb. 11 to propose a constitutional amendment that would expand the current executive branch from five to 10 members. The amendment will now be put to the Pitzer student body at large, which must ratify it to make it official.

The amendment would reduce the workload of the current members of the executive board and distribute duties more evenly, Senate secretary Kamyab Mashian PZ ’19 said.

Currently, there are five members on the executive board — president, vice president, secretary, community secretary, and treasurer, who are “charged with both executive and bureaucratic responsibilities,” Mashian said.

The amendment would keep the executive board at five members but change the positions that comprise it, and add a new five-member cabinet to fulfill more bureaucratic roles. Together, the executive board and cabinet would form the executive branch.

“The new executive board would be responsible mostly for oversight, leadership, and long-term planning on Student Senate, while the cabinet would handle many of the day-to-day bureaucratic concerns,” Mashian said.

Under the new structure, the executive board would include the president, vice president of external affairs, vice president of internal affairs, vice president of finance, and vice president of student engagement. The cabinet would be made up of a treasurer, internal secretary, secretary of student organizations, secretary of events, and secretary of diversity.

The five executive board positions would be elected by students each spring. The current executive board would then nominate the treasurer, internal secretary, and secretary of student organizations, and the nominees would be confirmed by the current senate. The newly-elected executive board would nominate the secretary of events, who would be confirmed by the current events board. The secretary of diversity would be appointed in accordance with the identity board bylaws.

The current lack of oversight positions on the executive board is an issue for Senate, said Simone Bishara PZ ’18, the committee liaison.

“I think the current issue with the current treasurer position is that you don’t have anybody looking at large trends and you don’t have anyone looking at the oversight of the process,” she said. “You have one person typing numbers into Venmo at 2 a.m. and hoping for the best. [If the amendment passes], you have a position dedicated to [examining the division of spending among student organizations and other projects].”

The amendment will also ease the executive board’s intensive workload, according to Christopher Eskilson PZ ’18, a student senator and co-author of the amendment.

“In my four years as a student, I’ve seen executive board members always lack support in their positions and undergo the same burnout, particularly the treasurer,” Eskilson wrote in a message to TSL. “The new division of labor will allow for more effective, more efficient, and more innovative leadership at senate with manageable, defined duties.”

Reducing the workload per student will “finally allow the executive board to innovate and think creatively to serve the student body rather than stressfully just trying to keep senate afloat,” added junior class representative Shivani Kavuluru PZ ’19, another one of the bill’s co-authors.

Now that the Senate has approved the amendment, the student body has the option to ratify or deny it in a referendum, which will likely take place during the coming week, according to Mashian.

“I think it’s a good idea to expand the central leadership to include more voices,” Daisy Chaudruc PZ ’21 said. “Additionally, the Student Senate is very involved with on-campus organizations and expanding the executive board will help the efficiency of things like reimbursements because more people can do the work.”

If it is approved by students, the amendment will take effect starting next academic year, and will not change the executive board currently in office.

The Senate initially encountered difficulty passing the amendment, as the requisite number of senators were not present to vote on it at the Feb. 4 meeting. Voting was delayed to the Feb. 11 meeting, when it passed with near-unanimous approval.

This article was updated Feb. 16 to reflect that Kavuluru is the junior class representative, not the junior class president.

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