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SAGA Delegates Replace Rules Chairman in Secret Ballot Vote

March 29, 2010

Delegates of the Student Association General Assembly issued a vote of no confidence to remove junior delegate Charlie O’Neill as Chairman of the Rules and Privileges Committee at their meeting on
Wednesday.

The motion passed with 17 yeas and 6 nays, with one abstention. SAGA bylaws state that in the case of a vote of no confi dence, the delegates vote by secret ballot.

Maxwell Woodger Bacon, freshman delegate, made the motion at the end of the meeting to replace O’Neill with Rob Durbano, a delegate from the class of 2011.

“I was surprised,” said Durbano.

“He [O’Neill] has a very lazy attitude,” said Woodger Bacon. “I think you should take this job fairly seriously.”

O’Neill was not present at the meeting, because he was fulfilling his duties as Resident Assistant of Opus Hall, according to fellow junior delegate Mike Provine. He sent junior delegate Tom Horsman as
his proxy.

“He has demonstrated he has a broad knowledge of parliamentary rules and procedures,” said Horsman, who was allowed to speak in
O’Neill’s defense. “It’s late in the semester, and he was elected last year.”

The body took a short recess to attempt to contact O’Neill, but delegates were not able to reach him.

“I have a huge problem with this,” said Provine. “Charlie is one of the most proactive members of the student community.”

Despite protests by O’Neill’s fellow 2011 delegates, the motion passed and Durbano will now head the Rules Committee.

“I see myself finishing Charlie’s term,” said Durbano, who talked to O’Neill after the meeting about the committee. “It’s mine now and I will make changes as I find appropriate.”

O’Neill could not be immediately reached for comment.

O’Neill will remain liaison to Disability Services and a non-chair delegate, said Speaker Chris Pierno. If he decides to resign his seat, SAGA will be notified.

Prior to the vote of no confidence, junior delegate John Byers brought up a referendum that will be placed on the ballot for the student elections next week. The question will ask students whether they
think the University should lease John McCormack Road, which borders campus to the east.

“As a student, and not as a delegate, I contacted the city, the Department of Transportation and other universities. It turns out it is actually quite doable,” Byers said. “Nobody so far has told us no.”

Opus Hall parking is always full and other student options are inconvenient and limited, said Byers, who co-sponsored the referendum with sophomore delegate Leslie Martin.

“We want to rally people behind this because it has the potential to get very complicated,” said Byers.

Howard University leased Bryant Street, which runs through their campus. The City removed the parking meters and Howard now plows the street. Students can buy parking permits for those spaces.

The referendum is based on the experience of Howard. Students will be able to park closer to their dorms, on a surface permit.

The law school parking garage is almost never full, said Provine. Byers responded that convenience is a major factor when considering the usefulness of such an action.

The city will send a surveyor to assess price and feasibility, but the request must come from the University.

Byers said that inquiries have been well received by the University.

A “Referendum to Elect Every Member of SFAB” was met with protests from most of the SAGA body. Currently, one representative from
each class and the director are elected. The other four members are appointed.

Current director of SFAB Rachael Staab was present at the meeting and spoke up against the referendum, sponsored by seniors Brian Bligh and Mark Koury.

“The appointed people are so important,” said Staab. “SFAB should be people with communication skills and the right tools to do the job. It’s more than just allocating funds.”

The referendum ultimately was defeated, with 13 votes against it. Koury argued that students had brought the issue forward.

Martin responded that SAGA approves all SFAB liaisons and can impeach them as well.

“Appointed members offer a different persepective,” said Martin.

Originally published in the March 26 issue of The Tower.

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