Letter From The Student Body President

by Daniel S.

Here on StuCo, there are two things we really love:

  1. Drama
  2. Creating unfair situations

However, we hate it when either of those things happens as the result of an election, so in order to insure that the only tears cried at OES are a result of Finals or Science Research, we have proposed a new constitutional amendment.

Now if you’re one of the people who sneakily plays TriviaCrack during gathering instead of listening to the announcements, you probably have no idea what this proposed amendment is all about. Honestly, even if you listened when we announced the proposal, I don’t blame you if you don’t really care about what the thing entails, because “Hey everyone, there’s a proposal for a new constitutional amendment to article seven” isn’t exactly the sexiest announcement ever.

Either way, I promise that the proposed change makes a lot of sense, and will also matter a lot to the student body, because it will undoubtedly improve the way our elections work. Here’s why.

If you were here last spring, I’m sure you know all about some of the issues that were raised during the presidential elections. For those of you that were missing, or just completely oblivious, it turned out that the system we were using to vote (“Majority”) was somewhat problematic.

With so many candidates running, it was virtually impossible for one person to gain 50% of the votes in the first round of elections, meaning that there had to be a runoff to determine the winner. The top two candidates from the first round of voting were chosen to be in the runoff, which meant that there were questions raised about whether those two candidates would truly be representing the majority opinion of the student body. (Feel free to impeach me if you see the need.)

There was a fair amount of drama and everyone involved had to engage in some intense discussion about what was fair and what was not. Regardless of the results of the election, it became pretty clear that there were other, potentially better, voting systems that should be explored.

The problem that appeared when Policy Board sat down to work on improving the election system this year, is that the “Majority Vote/First Past the Post” voting system is specifically required by the constitution.

This means that if we ever want to change the voting system, Policy Board must work to propose a constitutional amendment, wait two whole months for discussion from the student body, and then finally hold another time-consuming student body vote on the new system. That does not sound like a fun process to undergo whenever the system needs to be improved.

So in a flash of brilliant self-awareness seldom heard of from Student Council, we acknowledge that we can’t know what the future holds, and that it is counter-productive to make a different voting system a part of the constitution this year if it will be really really difficult to change it again in the future, when more problems arise. Thus, our newly proposed amendment was born, which I’ll summarize in two sentences:

  • The voting system will no longer be specified in the constitution itself, because when issues with the system arise, it shouldn’t take an entire year’s worth of work (which is what a constitutional amendment entails) to improve the way that we vote.
  • Instead, a Policy/Community Board member can propose a change to the voting system, and if both boards agree to PROPOSE the change, there will be at least three weeks of discussion and then the boards can vote on whether to enact the change or not.

As a student body, we have about six weeks left to discuss this amendment. At the end of that period of time, we will vote on whether or not we want this amendment to pass. If it does, StuCo will then be able to use the shiny new process to prepare for the elections by proposing and discussing different, potentially better voting systems. This amendment is the first step towards improving our elections, elections that affect everyone in the OES Upper School Community. If you have any questions, please talk to me or anyone else on Policy Board, and be sure to thank PoBo for all the work they put into this amendment.

See ya in gathering 🙂

Here’s a link to the current student council constitution: https://sites.google.com/a/go.oes.edu/stuco/constitution

Link to a slide with the new proposal: