On April 20 during AP, Congress held its Annual General Assembly. This forum, held towards the end of every school year, serves to implement new amendments previously proposed by Congress members throughout the year. The amendments are then voted upon by the student body in a minimum audience of 60 students. Students are invited to ask questions concerning the amendment and the Constitution as a whole, making it a valuable opportunity for students to become more involved in the decisions that affect the entire college.
As per custom, the first vote held at the assembly was a vote concerning club budgeting. Congress proposed a motion to continue funding for clubs, and the motion was formally passed. Clubs will continue to receive grants and loans from Congress.
The second proposed amendment to the Congress Constitution concerned Access to Information requests which, under the previous constitution, required a written form. In the proposed amendment, students are now free to directly request for information from any Congress member, thus increasing transparency for Congress. The majority of information relating to Congress activities is free to access by any of the students, including club budgeting information, information on new Congress initiatives, and updates for Congress meetings. The amendment was passed following a majority vote.
Congress also proposed an amendment to remove the obligation of Congress members to sit at the Student Life Committee. Consisting of various faculty members and a group 15 randomly selected students, the Student Life Committee is responsible for handling requests and complaints made by the students concerning the school itself. However, following a great amount of questioning on the exact reasoning for the removal of this responsibility, as well as concerns over representation of students in the Student Life Committee, the proposed amendment ultimately did not pass.
Of particular interest are the changes made to the number of members in Congress. Previously, the now defunct position of Honorary Coordinator, a legacy position for previous members of Congress to ensure a smooth transition for incoming members, was replaced with two Members At Large. Divided into first-year and second-year position, Members At Large were tasked with aiding various members of Congress in fulfilling their mandates. However, due to a need for both increased efficiency and an odd number of members at Congress, the second year position for Member At Large was proposed to be removed. The amendment passed after a majority vote, and the position is now open only to first-year students.
Finally, from an original maximum of 25$ per meeting, the food budget for Congress was amended to a maximum of 5$ per person. This was done to more realistically cover the costs of providing snacks and refreshments in meetings with large numbers of people. However, due to the unpopularity of the bill itself, the article allowing for a food budget for Congress was abolished completely through majority vote. Congress will no longer receive student money to finance their food expenses.
Further corrections were made to the Constitution, most of which were clarifications of earlier clauses, as well corrections of syntax and phrasing.
As the semester comes to a close, the MWR would also like to remind students that the Congress Office is open to all students and any questions concerning changes to the Constitution may be brought up in person to the current members of Congress.
Written by MWR writer Yi Sen Wang, edited by the MWR team