On September 7, College Council (CC) unanimously passed two resolutions to reform their policies on giving statements and voting procedures, with the aim of making these processes more transparent and formalized.
The procedure to secure a CC statement was reformed to avoid the confusion Undergraduate Student Government (USG) faced when they released a statement in collaboration with Students for Justice in Palestine on May 21. The process through which that statement was released was kept confidential. In turn, the new process established by the resolution no longer allows for such confidentiality. Instead, any organization that seeks USG support in the form of a statement must submit a formal written memorandum to the USG. This memorandum would have to fully outline the reasons why support or collaboration is being requested.
After a member of the Cabinet receives and responds to the request, USG would then draft a statement regarding the organization's request and after receiving feedback from the Center for Leadership and Involvement, USG would vote on whether the finalized statement should be released. A simple majority is sufficient to ensure the release of a statement, though if an affirming vote is not unanimous, the release would note that the statement does not reflect the views of everyone sitting on the USG.
The change in process also aims to help USG avoid a systemic problem of mixed messaging such as what occurred in April 2021 when they released a statement calling for the punishment of students that were found to have broken the UChicago Health Pact, only to subsequently not pursue this action.
In addition to this, The Establishing Clear Voting Procedures Act (the ECVP act) was passed to amend the CC’s bylaws to state that votes on resolutions and measures that impact the public will occur in public, open meetings. In cases where the council deems that voting should occur asynchronously, voting can occur on email, though each member’s response will be noted to enforce this transparency.
The Act was created to help voters make more informed choices during elections by making information about the candidates’ voting records more accessible.
The act does leave room for anonymity if there is deemed to be a risk of physical danger to members. To prevent overuse, having an anonymous vote must be preceded by an open debate. Despite the anonymity, vote tallies would still be made public in these situations.