MSA referendum will correct error caused by previous referendum

The MSA constitution currently requires a president and vice president to be inaugurated about two months prior to their actual election.

Last March, students voted in a referendum to change the Missouri Students Association constitution so the presidential election would occur in March instead of November. One problem: They did not vote to change the date of the presidential inauguration because it was left out of the initial referendum.

The dates of both the presidential election and inauguration are dictated by the constitution, and MSA cannot make changes to the document without a two-thirds majority vote of students. To change the date of the inauguration, MSA must hold another campuswide referendum.

“Right now, it says that the president and vice president must be sworn in at the first full Senate meeting of the winter semester, which is impossible, because the president and vice president are not even elected until March,” Senate Speaker Mark McDaniel said.

McDaniel said the omission was due to an oversight on the part of the previous speaker and legislative cabinet. Operations Chairman Josh Tennison, who held the same position at the time, said the mistake was not one single person’s fault.

“There were several people, myself included, that just had a problem on our plate that was so immense that [the inauguration date] got overlooked,” Tennison said.

The referendum was held during last spring’s special election, which was called to replace former President-elect Haden Gomez after he resigned the night of his own scheduled inauguration.

Junior Amanda Lundgren, a journalism major, said she didn’t understand how MSA had left the inauguration date out of the initial referendum when it seemed to her like common sense.

“It just seems like they could be using that time for more important issues on campus, instead of moving an inauguration that should have already been moved anyway,” Lundgren said.

A bill authored by McDaniel and co-sponsored by Tennison would add a referendum to change the date of the inauguration. Instead of taking place at the first full Senate meeting of the winter semester, the speaker would schedule the inauguration during a full Senate within 30 days of the close of the general election.

The referendum would state: “Would you like to change the inauguration dates for the MSA President and Vice President? The benefit of this change would allow the President and Vice President to enact their duties of office in their official capacity,” followed by the exact changes to the constitution.

The bill was passed through the Operations Committee on Tuesday night and will go through first readings Wednesday. It will go up for a vote Sept. 27.

“If you want your president and vice president to be able to pass a budget that allows $1.6 million to actually get spent for stuff like KCOU, STRIPES, MUTV, vote yes,” McDaniel said.

Edited by George Roberson | groberson@themaneater.com

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