GUSA President Brian Morgenstern (COL ’05) vetoed amendments to the Lecture Fund Constitution approved last week by the Student Association’s assembly. The veto is only the third by a GUSA president in the past three years.

The GUSA president traditionally appoints Lecture Fund executives, who are then ratified by the GUSA assembly. The vetoed amendments, proposed by Lecture Fund Chair Brian Glaser (SFS ’04) and passed by the Assembly with an 8-3 vote, would have handed over these appointments to a committee composed of the GUSA president, a member of the president’s Cabinet, the outgoing Lecture Fund Chair and a delegate from the Lecture Fund. The proposed constitutional changes also included moving up the appointment date in order to facilitate the selection process.

In a letter addressed to GUSA Chair Jack Ternan (COL ’04) and Vice-Chair Dan Spector (SFS ’04), Morgenstern said he vetoed the amendment because of specific reservations about its language.

“The amendment as it stands allows for an unacceptable situation in which an appointment could take place without the approval of the student body president. This violates Article II, Section 3 of the GUSA Constitution, which grants full power of appointment to the president,” he wrote. “It also violates the laws of logic to allow for a situation in which a president may be compelled to veto his own appointment.”

Morgenstern did not reject the possibility of changes in the future. He cited a history of GUSA presidents informally consulting with outgoing Lecture Fund executives and members before making appointments and conceded that it would be possible to “institutionalize” this practice.

“The amendment certainly has merits and a sound democratic philosophy behind it. However, this particular language is unconstitutional and would present even more obstacles to an already tumultuous appointment process,” he wrote. “I would welcome a more practical method of granting the Lecture Fund a voice and increased ownership in the appointment process with regards to their leadership.”

Glaser said that the Lecture Fund would review the veto and its accompanying logic this week. He said they would make a decision as late as next Monday to either attempt to override the veto by a vote of the GUSA Assembly or to revise the amendments and resubmit them to the Assembly at a later date.

“I feel that Brian’s comments were incredibly well put, well researched and showed a very intelligent, apt and active GUSA president,” Glaser said. “However . I feel an organization which has little interaction with GUSA should have a concrete say in its leadership. It says a lot that everyone, including Assembly members who voted no and Brian, thinks philosophically this is a good idea, but in the end that `good idea’ still won’t be given a chance.”

Morgenstern continues to stand by his veto. “From my reading of the GUSA constitution, the process that was presented leaves the possibility of an appointment being made in spite of the GUSA president’s wishes, and the power of appointment lies with the president,” he said.

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