The IU Student Government passed an amendment Monday night that changes the requirements for student membership eligibility, including disqualifying candidates who have violated IU’s Discrimination, Harrassment, and Sexual Misconduct policies.
The amendment also says prospective candidates who have been found responsible for nonsexual violent code violations must be subject to a review by a panel of IUSG advisors to assess their growth and suitability for office. The bill passed with 38 yes votes, one no vote and five abstentions at a general assembly Monday night. It is pending approval from IU student body President Ky Freeman.
Freeman vetoed an initial version of the “Election Reform Act” on Nov. 20. This version of the amendment passed on Nov. 15 and says a candidate for IUSG is only eligible if they have “never been found guilty of sexual misconduct or a violent crime by the University, unless that finding was successfully appealed.”
Freeman’s veto noted concerns regarding the difference between crimes and violations of IU’s code of ethics.
“The university does not determine crime, they determine policy violations, crimes are determined by criminal courts,” Freeman said in his veto letter. “Therefore, a ‘violent code violation’ may be the more appropriate language under our student conduct office to substitute for ‘violent crime.’”
Freeman also wrote that the language in the bill unfairly punished “students who have been rehabilitated of these infractions,” urging the IUSG congress to modify the language in the bill to allow for due process and accounting for personal growth.
Discussion of Freeman’s veto Monday initially centered around the sexual misconduct section of the initial proposal. Representatives such as Central Neighborhood Representative Evan Futa said that he believes Freeman’s proposal could potentially allow perpetrators of sexual misconduct to potentially run for IUSG.
“It would be a slap in the face for survivors to hear that we are allowing sexual offenders to run for positions of power,” Futa said during the assembly. “Not only does that hurt our collective psyche as it puts some of our most vulnerable people at risk of being continually oppressed, but it also sends a message that someone can do those things and still go out and run.”
Freeman said his veto was made in response to the “violent crime” provision in the original text and not the sexual misconduct, but that the wording of the initial bill made it difficult to distinguish between the two. Freeman suggested creating a distinction between violent code violations and sexual misconduct violations on future versions of the bill.