Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU SG president could lose veto power

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.



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.

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  • B

    Boris BastidasFeb 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    One simple concept: We love the idea, but we can’t even convince Administration to put up hammocks on campus because they’re worried about liability. If we can’t get that off the ground, how on earth can we convince them to allow a skate park? It’s a worth a try, but the reality remains.

  • D

    DaveFeb 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Where can I veto the House’s decision to indefinitely table the skate park bill? Stupidest decision in a long time. FAU definitely needs it. Please reconsider.

  • B

    Boris BastidasFeb 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

    With all due respect, this needs to be clarified.

    The House has passed no resolution or bill that indicates any interest whatsoever or that attemps to take away the President’s veto power over campus houses.

    The House is made up of 46 seats, of which currently 36 members fill those seats. If there has not been any bill or resolution that was passed by a majority and outright says “The House of Reps. moves to take away the President’s veto power” or says “The House of Reps. recommends that the veto power be taken away” then the sub-headline “Boca House of Representatives wants the president to have no say in passing their bills.” is incorrect. Even if the Speaker, Pro-Tempore and multiple members indicate an interest in changing this current structure, it is simply inaccurate to suggest that the House is doing anything about this subject, because no legislation is being considered/filed by the House that would change it, no constitutional amendment is being considered/filed to change it, and on my part I can say on the record that I have no plans to write any bills or resolutions on this matter, ever.

    We had a Constitutional revision process back in 2010, that was voted on by the committee and by the student body but then rejected by Administration, and so the amendments were never approved by the Board of Trustees. We were supposed to have another revision process to alleviate this serious problem in the summer, however the executives in Student Government never called the CRC into session. They said they would do it in the summer, they didn’t. They said they would do it in September, then October, and you get the picture.

    What I have said, is that the constitution needs to be REVISED, and that means we need to have a CRC. It is my expectation, not my recommendation, that the next President calls the CRC into session this summer. What I have shown the House, what I have indicated to the House is that IF, and only IF, the CRC does not get called yet again, that there is the option of amending the constitutional through an amendment process. This is to suggest that if the CRC is once agained delayed and punted yet again, there is a way to change things regardless. It is also important for newer less experienced members to know this, as Speaker I try to occassionaly make sure they are informed about the statutes and about our budget accounts.

    “The Boca House of Representatives wants to change the SG Constitution so the president has no say over the bills they write.”….this statement is simply false. Just because Boris Bastidas or any other House member will say on the record that they personally think the veto power should change, does not mean that it can be said that the House as a whole wants to change it. My personal view is that the veto for House bills should be removed, and that is something that can be talked about the next CRC, it has to be proposed and it has to be voted on. If you asked all the House members one by one how they felt about this, many of them would likely support his veto, or someone would be unsure, so how can it can be said that the House as a whole is doing this?

    Yes there is some big time discussion about this topic, it’s been talked about for years, and yes I think the President’s veto should be removed. “Bastidas showed other representatives they could take away Maher’s veto power without a CRC meeting.” At that meeting I passed around the part about constitutional amendments to show that if need be, we could change parts of the constitution if the CRC once again didn’t meet. I did not however launch a campaign in the middle of a House meeting the need to take away the President’s veto. That’s the kind of thing to talk about at a CRC.