FAU SG president could lose veto power

Dylan Bouscher

The Student Government president’s job could get easier. He may not have to look at House bills anymore.

The Boca House of Representatives wants to change the SG Constitution so the president has no say over the bills they write. Right now, the constitution grants the president the power to pass or veto legislation from the campus Houses and university-wide Senate. In the past, President Ayden Maher vetoed bills about parking, pot and sexual orientation.

Now Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas is showing the House how to change the constitution so the president can’t veto their bills anymore. “If certain executives are not going to do their jobs and if we’re looking for something to do, maybe this is something to do,” Bastidas said to the other representatives at a BHOR meeting.

“There is some big time discussion, a lot of people think the president should not have veto power over the campus Houses.” Bastidas never said who else was discussing this.

Jupiter House speaker, Amrita Gopaldas, said, “Even though the student body president is mainly on the Boca campus, his role is to represent and serve all campuses. So I think he should be able to veto legislation from the MacArthur House.”

“I feel that it is a misallocation of their time and energy. Part of keeping the university-wide feeling [in SG] is having the relationship between the president and the Houses,” Maher said about the Boca House’s new idea.

Last August, Maher vetoed four poll questions the Boca House passed that would have asked students for their views on issues such as discrimination against sexual orientation, FAU’s marijuana policy, parking and traffic and course registration crashes.

Maher vetoed the poll questions because he felt each bill asked a question the university-wide Senate should address. The poll questions, and a bill to pay for Lambda United and the Resident Student Association to go to Halloween Horror Nights were the only bills Maher vetoed in the last year. The poll questions were written and sponsored by Bastidas.

When the same poll questions were written into Senate bills, however, Maher still vetoed two questions related to sexual orientation and course registration servers.

“Maybe there is some spite between certain people, because of the vetoes,” Bastidas said, referring to Maher killing the poll questions.

To make these changes the Constitution Revision Commission has to meet. The CRC is a group of students and faculty that review changes to the constitution. Bastidas showed other representatives they could take away Maher’s veto power without a CRC meeting. As it stands, all bills passed by a campus House or the university-wide Senate have to be signed by the president, the campus governor and the vice president of Student Affairs.

SG Vice President Robert Huffman, who is also a presidential candidate, said, “If my veto power were taken away, I wouldn’t be too upset. There are not a lot of instances where the president has to veto bills.”

Current Broward Gov. Helen Pferdehirt is running against Huffman in the upcoming election. Pferdehirt said, “As far as I understand, it’s an issue within the Boca House, and the Broward House and Jupiter House don’t share those feelings.”

Pferdehirt added the House is more than capable of taking away the president’s veto power. “The House has the right to raise any issue they want, and if they can get it done, more power to them.”

Whether the president’s veto power is taken away or not, all bills still have to be signed or vetoed by the non-elected vice president of Student Affairs, Dr. Charles Brown.

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Correction:

In a previous version of this story, it was reported the the House of Representatives wanted the SG president to have no say in passing their bills. This is Boca House Speaker, Boris Bastidas’s opinion and not the BHOR’s.