The GUSA Senate voted Wednesday to form five new student commissions after Student Association President Pat Dowd (SFS ’09) vetoed a bill passed last week to create the same commissions with a sixth, the Student Security and Safety Commission, also included. This was Dowd’s first veto as GUSA president.

At last week’s meeting, the senate passed a resolution creating six new student commissions, including the SSSC, and renewed the Student Commission for Unity for another year. The SCU was created in November 2007 after a string of alleged hate crimes on campus.

However, Dowd vetoed the original bill due to an objection to the new safety commission, which he believed would encroach on the purpose and responsibilities of the Student Safety Advisory Board and would involve issues that the senate is not equipped to handle.

“Many GUSA senators are not quite as educated on the current process as they could be . they also aren’t quite as familiar with students and administrators,” Dowd said. “Once we educate ourselves, then we will be at the point where we can create a security commission.”

Dowd did not object to the formation of the other five commissions.

After lengthy discussion, the senate tabled the SSSC for further consideration in order to pass and implement the other five commissions and renew the SCU.

However, the committee did not reach agreement on the future of the vetoed safety and security commission, and it remains subject to further consideration.

Senate members then proceeded to tackle a second issue – a resolution granting the senate greater control over the allocation of club funding by the Student Activities Commission.

Several senators have expressed concern in recent weeks about SAC’s transparency as well as the lack of student input into the commission’s decisions.

According to the resolution text, the bill would “ensure that the process of selection SAC commissioners and the implementation of SAC policies are transparent, fair and accountable to the student body.”

Senator Tyler Stone (COL ’09) said that the system has to be changed because students do not have a voice in the allocation process.

“That money is student money, yet students have no say over how that money is spent,” he said.

The senate aims to improve relations with SAC and ultimately move closer to a system in which the student body oversees how its money is spent. After discussion, the senate unanimously passed the resolution.

“GUSA hopes that SAC is willing to continue to cooperate with us to bring about meaningful changes,” senator Brian Wood (COL ’09) said.

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