Student Government President Corey Benbow vetoed the Department of Freshman Leadership Act, marking the first veto in his term two weeks before the new administration begins.
The bill, which is to be paired with the newly ratified Student Government constitution, outlines the policies and procedures of the Department of Freshman Council.
According to Benbow, the act gives the Senate too much oversight into Freshman Council. He said it is the job of the freshman leadership director and Senators who play an active role in the council to monitor the freshman government body.
“It is my opinion, the Senate’s powers are broadly and profoundly established in the constitution, and the Senate need not have any additional oversight of programs within the Department of Freshman Leadership,” Benbow wrote in a letter released April 3.
In a weekly virtual Student Government meeting April 6, Benbow reiterated his previous statement, adding his concerns over an aspect of the legislation which states only the president has the ability to remove members of Freshman Council.
Benbow pointed out that under the constitution, Freshman Council is a program under the Department of Freshman Leadership and not another branch of Student Government.
Despite the act requiring Freshman Council members to be sworn in by the Senate as if they were members of Student Government, it would not grant them the same due process procedures as senate members in the event they were to be removed. Instead, Freshman Council members could only be removed by the president.
“It makes no sense to me that (Freshman Council members) would need to be confirmed by the senate and then could just be removed by the president for any reason but the logic behind having them confirmed by the Senate is that they are whole members of Student Government,” Benbow said.
Benbow said the act is another way for Student Government to be less inclusive and place unnecessary restrictions on first-year students interested in participating in Freshman Council.
Senate members have since released a resolution to override Benbow’s veto. If passed, the resolution will be forwarded to the Dean of Students for next steps.
Student Government meetings, now being held via Zoom, are open to the public and are held every Monday at 7 p.m. The meeting agenda and resolutions can be found on the Student Government website and the Zoom meeting ID is posted to the organization’s Twitter account.