Assembly adopts proportional representation

New composition will take effect next year and see Residence Society’s three votes removed

Second from left: Nathan Utioh
Image by: Natasa Bansagi
Second from left: Nathan Utioh

A second reading of the motion to change the composition of AMS Assembly to proportional representation passed last night with two abstentions, removing Residence Society’s voting seats.

As a result of the second reading passing, the change will come into effect in the next elections for Assembly representatives, set to occur next year, and therefore won’t affect anyone currently sitting on Assembly.

Residence Society (ResSoc) President Nathan Utioh and Events Coordinator Brittney Whalen abstained from the vote.

Last month, the Journal reported that the new composition would cause the Residence Society to lose its three voting seats in Assembly.

The first reading of the proposed change, presented at Assembly on Sept. 18, led to the creation of an ad hoc committee to examine options for Assembly composition reform.

The committee, chaired by AMS President Allison Williams, met on Sept. 28 and Oct. 8, and presented four options for reformed composition, one of which was recommended at the Oct. 14 Assembly meeting.

Each option was considered by the committee, both with and without the inclusion of ResSoc as a voting member of Assembly.

The first reading of the motion passed in Assembly on Oct. 14.

Williams, ArtSci ’14, said the committee had two phases, the first of which was ensuring that its “guiding principles” were respected. One of these principles was that Assembly membership be based on faculty constituency, such as ASUS or the Engineering Society.

“[Within the ad hoc committee], [there] was unanimity outside of Residence Society that they should not be included for the most effective representation,” Williams said.

The second phase tried different composition options, in which “bins” — the categories determining the number of voting seats societies receive in addition to the two automatically given to them, based on the percentage of AMS membership represented by that society — were respectively altered.

“We tried tweaking that in a number of different ways, just basically changing the relative sizes of those bins, how many there were, how high they went,” Williams said.

She said the option recommended by the committee — option four — would include smaller bins that would see smaller societies gain more seats at Assembly at a higher rate and larger societies at a slower rate.

“It was the best option for balancing our desire to have a critical mass of representatives and a lot of focus on the attainment of new representatives as smaller societies grew,” Williams said, “but also to make sure we were really balancing out and providing fair representation for the larger societies on the other end.”

The ad hoc committee also suggested that Assembly create a standing committee to address first-year issues. These concerns, Williams said, aren’t represented in the structure of AMS council to the same degree as other issues like academics and municipal affairs.

“Having a sort of standing committee would mean that there could be recommendations that were coming forward to Assembly that consistently considered the first-year experience and looked at it more proactively,” she said, “while also making sure that at the Assembly level, we were doing our due diligence in terms of looking at faculty society constituency.”

Utioh, ArtSci ’15, said the reasons why ResSoc didn’t put forth an amendment to the proposed changes in Assembly composition reform included the amendments being in line with the ad hoc committee’s purpose and thorough discussion taking place in the committee itself.

“The changes that were proposed by the committee will do what the committee was set out to do, which is to increase the efficiency of Assembly and also strengthen the importance of each voice on Assembly,” Utioh said.



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