Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Under the status quo, students have the option of appealing to Student Council to overturn an SBC decision. The Student Groups Advisor (currently Chris Green ’09) is responsible for scheduling the appeal. For an actual hearing, the student petitioner, the SBC manager (currently Fletcher Coleman ’09), the Student Groups Advisor and at least six Student Council members must be present in the same room. The student petitioner makes his or case to Student Council and the SBC manager explains the reasoning of the SBC decision. A simple majority of Council is required to overturn an SBC decision.
The current system insures that there is time for plenty of discussion and sufficient opportunities to ask questions. Unfortunately, the current system fails at providing an option for student to make an appeal for a time-sensitive case when Student Council is unable to physically meet. This was almost problematic when a student sought to purchase a large quantity of t-shirts for the men’s soccer team game against Amherst College last semester.
Last weekend I proposed an amendment to our Student Constitution to change the Student Budget Committee (SBC) appeal process. This amendment was created last semester through consultation with Council and SBC. This amendment basically allows for an emergency appeal to be conducted via e-mail. E-mail communication does not allow for the same rich discussion and questioning as an actual meeting in person. We only want this process to be used as a last resort and not to be abused. We decided that it would be best that an emergency appeal require a two-thirds majority vote of council to overturn an SBC decision. The SBC manager must sign on the emergency appeal since he or she would have greater difficulty in communicating SBC’s reasoning via e-mail (especially if there is a time crunch). The actual wording of the appeal is included at the end of this e-mail.
We want to make it clear that no student would ever be denied an appeal. If the SBC managers and Students Groups Advisor deemed an emergency appeal to be inappropriate, a petitioning student would automatically go through the normal appeals process.
The amendment requires a two-thirds majority of Council to pass. I urge anyone who has a question to write me (nerskin1), to contact Student Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to come to our meeting next Sunday at 7:30pm in Parrish Parlors. If there is no significant student objection, I hope that the amendment can be implemented soon.
Nate Erskine ‘10
Student Council Vice-President
Original Clause in the Student Council Constitution Regarding SBC appeals (for the complete constitution visit http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/council/constitution/):
Section 5: Appeals of Budgeting Decisions
5.1 Any chartered group that wishes to appeal an SBC decision, whether regarding spring budgeting or supplementary allocations, must contact the SBC Treasurer in writing within 48 hours of the decision.
5.2 The appeal shall first be presented before SBC for reevaluation. At this time any new arguments, information, or adjustments in the request should be made. SBC may then either reject the appeal or alter its original decision.
5.3 If the group remains unsatisfied with the reevaluation, it may continue the appeals process by presenting its request and arguments at a meeting of SC.
5.3.1 The SBC Treasurer shall submit a report explaining SBC’s decision.
5.3.2 SC shall hear the appeal and either accept or reject the appeal as stated.
5.3.3 The decision of SC is final.
5.4 An emergency appeal can occur if an appeal is time-sensitive and SC is unable to have quorum.
5.4.1 The Student Groups Advisor and the SBC Treasurer must approve the use of the emergency appeals process.
5.4.2 The chartered group shall present its request and arguments via e-mail. The SBC Treasurer shall also submit a report explaining SBC’s decision to all SC members via e-mail.
5.4.3 SC members shall vote by e-mail. A two-thirds majority of SC is required to accept the appeal.
5.4.4 The decision of SC in the emergency appeal is final.