The Division of Internal Review (DIR) faced a major setback at the Undergraduate Senate meeting Tuesday night; a bill to establish the group also failed after more than an hour of debate.
The DIR, a brainchild of ASSU Executive Michael Cruz ’12, is intended to evaluate ASSU Executive and Senate initiatives, as well as monitor how the groups which receive ASSU spending use that money. The bill failed to pass the Senate due to a controversial confidentiality clause, as well as disagreements over the scope and language of the bill.
Major problems within the bill were that it contained vague language about the scope of the DIR, as well as a clause that allowed it to keep certain information confidential, which is prohibited by the ASSU constitution and bylaws.
Senator Alon Elhanan ’14 argued this point and questioned why the bill had such a clause at all.
Senator Ben Laufer ’12 also argued that the scope of the DIR was poorly defined. In a tense exchange, Laufer and bill author Appropriations Chair Brianna Pang ’13 engaged in a back-and-forth over whether Laufer agreed with the intention of the DIR, and then over what specific issues he took with the bill.
Acting Senate Chair Dan Ashton ’14 sought to curb discussion after an hour; however, arguments persisted for another 30 minutes as the Senate was unable to agree on DIR’s role and the specific language of the bill.
After the Senate took a 10-minute recess to make adjustments, a modified bill was then discussed. The new wording of the bill changed the DIR from a one-year program to a one-quarter pilot program. However, this final bill failed a vote, nine for and five against.
The bill was then tabled for further discussion and voting next week.
Bill author Pang ’13 said in an interview after the meeting that the confidentiality clause was included to prevent disclosure of financial information that would be sensitive, such as credit card information or account numbers.
However as the bill is currently written, the DIR has access to all documents that any student would have, which is all ASSU documents that don’t contain sensitive financial information. The bill doesn’t allow the DIR to view documents that any other student would not have the ability to view.
When asked why the original bill would allow the DIR to omit information that is already publicly accessible, Pang said that it was one of the reasons the bill was tabled for next week. The question of why confidentiality was included in the first place was never fully answered.
Outside of the DIR debate, Cruz relayed a request from Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) regarding the new Arrillaga Dining Commons. Cruz said R&DE requested that anyone not living in Toyon or Crothers not eat in the new dining hall because it was “overflowing.”
The senate also discussed a plan in motion to provide students a subsidized package deal in order to facilitate students traveling to the USC-Stanford football game Oct. 29.
The details of the package are still under discussion; however, it would include buses that drive to and from Stanford, hotel accommodations for students who needed them and tailgating activities at USC.