UC Senate delays voting on quorum-count issue

By Michael Logli

After the Urbana-Champaign Senate committee held a brief moment of silence for the victims of Virginia Tech at their meeting Monday, the committee began to focus on the issues and proposals raised by the Sixth Senate Review Commission’s Final Report.

According to Nicholas Burbules, chair of the committee and professor in Education, six of the issues brought up in the report could not be voted on because they required more review and debate within the Senate Exchange Committee.

Four issues were brought to the senate for immediate consideration, with the most controversial being a modification of the senate’s standing rules to take a quorum count at the beginning of the meeting.

A quorum is the minimum number of members a body needs to debate and vote on issues.

According to the report, the change would force a quorum count at the beginning of the meeting, determining if enough senators were present to begin the meeting and vote.

This would eliminate the act of “quorum-blocking,” or calling quorum in the middle of the meeting, which could possibly end the meeting before important votes take place.

“You’re at a meeting about a controversial issue and before you vote, 46 people walk out,” Burbules said. “This is a manipulation of the rule, and I don’t think it is right.”

However, some senators thought this law would be binding and constrictive because it would force senators in attendance to remain for the entire meeting.

For example, if a senator had to attend or teach a class, they would not be permitted to leave the meeting.

“A lot of student senators feel that this would undermine the forum,” said Katie Dunne, vice president internal of the Illinois Student Senate and sophomore in LAS.

Because of the controversy surrounding this particular recommendation, the committee decided to exclude it from voting.

“I have certainly been annoyed by it in the past, but it’s one of these traditional rules that I feel uncomfortable changing,” said John Kindt, professor in Business.

The other three issues mentioned were allowing recording and webcasting of meetings, the recommendation that senate committees should be internally reviewed and a recommendation that the Senate Exchange Committee add an extra meeting.

All three issues passed by an overwhelming majority.