The IU Student Association Congress met Tuesday to appoint Supreme Court members, elect Congress members to new roles and vote on a new election code.
The new election rules are a long-awaited improvement in the election process, Election Commission marketing chair Savannah Wormley said.
“It’s significant that we passed the rules because it was a big move for us toward more fair and equal elections,” Wormley said.
Wormley also said the organization took steps toward increasing its own transparency.
The Election Commission has been in the process of creating its new election code for more than a semester, Wormley said. She said more legislation on it will likely be on the way in the coming years.
“It’s really exciting to have these changes solidified so we can start holding our events and start kind of moving forward with the election,” Wormley said.
The passing of the election rules and appointment of new positions within Congress brought few comments during the meeting, but the confirmation of two members to the Supreme Court sparked discussion.
Congressmen William McElhaney and Dakota Coates were particularly vocal about their concerns about the lack of diversity in the Supreme Court and IUSA altogether.
“It seems like Congress is choosing its own members,” Coates said.
Though the two members appointed Tuesday were white men, neither member belongs to the Kelley school, which does bring some diversity to a group that typically draws in business majors, McElhaney said after the meeting.
The discussion prolonged the Supreme Court confirmation session and also led to a conversation on whether the self-selection strategy of the Supreme Court should be allowed.
According to the IUSA rules, the Supreme Court members are chosen by the president and then confirmed by Congress. However, the Supreme Court can bring in students of their choice for IUSA President Sara Zaheer to approve in a process called “self-selection.”
An IUSA member, Devin Haymond, was chosen to join the Supreme Court by Zaheer. Another student, Richard Solomon, was added through the Supreme Court self-selection process, then approved by Zaheer. Both were approved by congress.
Though the concept of self-selection was equally as controversial as diversity in the IUSA court, both men were praised for their leadership and reliability. They were overwhelmingly confirmed by Congress.
Despite the tension, Brandon Sakbun, adviser to the vice president of Congress, said he still felt this meeting was encouraging and said he had faith in his members.
Sakbun said it was great to be able to see the election code improved and ironed out because student government leaders should be chosen by the students’ vote rather than a violation.
“It shows that the organization is moving toward steps of reform and moving toward a more positive image in the students’ eyes,” Sakbun said.
As for issues about diversity and inclusion in IUSA, Sakbun said he suspects the topic will continue to be a hot one for the remainder of the semester and beyond.
“I don’t think diversity is fixed overnight,” Sakbun said. “I think that comes with an organization completely saying, ‘We are committed to creating a culture that is diverse and includes all student groups on campus.”
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