Feb 18, 2019

ASI struggles over bylaws

Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) voted unanimously to approve amendments to bylaws at Wednesday’s meeting.

The vote was originally scheduled to take place at the last ASI meeting two weeks ago, but was postponed.

However, the vote was not reached without further debate regarding whether or not ASI was using the correct voting method outlined in the bylaws.

ASI executive vice president Alex Andreotti stated that a two-thirds vote was needed on the final vote to pass the amendments, but said that the individual changes to each article only needed a majority vote.

Jamie San Andres, senator for the college of social sciences, felt that the manner in which ASI was voting was not appropriate. She insisted that a two-thirds vote was required for making individual amendments to ASI bylaws.

“Changes, revision — those words all signify ‘amendment,’” San Andres said in an interview after the meeting. “The bylaws say a two-thirds vote is needed to make amendments.”

Andreotti disagreed.

“The fact that we did a two-thirds vote on the entire document supersedes everything,” Andreotti said.

San Andres wasn’t the only person to question the senate’s actions regarding the bylaws.

Tom Boroujeni, a Fresno State student who ran for ASI president last year, voiced concern over the voting methods used.

“The article’s section one of the bylaws says that amendments to the bylaws must be approved by a two-thirds roll call vote of the members of the senate then in office,” Boroujeni said, addressing the senate out of turn.

When Andreotti attempted to regain control of the meeting, Boroujeni became disorderly.

“No one cares about what you think, they care about what the law says,” Boroujeni said, addressing Andreotti.

Later, Andreotti called Ron Avedisian, environmental health and safety specialist at California State University, Fresno to address the senate.

Avedisian, a certified professional parliamentarian, said that in his opinion, the way in which the senate was voting was correct. He cited a set of rules called Roberts’ Rules of Order, which is listed in the bylaws as the standard operating procedure for ASI meetings.

But San Andres pointed out that Roberts’ Rules only apply when they don’t conflict with bylaws, and she felt that in this case they did conflict.

San Andres also questioned the validity of Avedisian’s statements.

“We’re asking someone who majored in physics and was certified as a parliamentarian in the 1970s for guidance, instead of the legal counsel that we pay for,” San Andres said.

Boroujeni again attempted to address the senate out of turn.

In an interview after the meeting, ASI president Jessica Sweeten said that she got up during the meeting to contact university police. Officers were on standby in the ASI office, in case ASI was forced to remove Boroujeni from the meeting, Sweeten said.

The senate took a majority vote to decide whether they wanted to let Boroujeni address them, but the vote failed. Boroujeni was given a warning that he would be removed from the office if he continued disrupting the meeting. He left shortly after.

The voting on each revision continued to be conducted at majority vote, and the entire document was approved with a two-thirds majority.

“We’re doing everything right,” Andreotti told The Collegian after the meeting. “You can’t disagree with parliamentary procedure. It’s set in stone.”

Andreotti also said that in the future, she hopes students will come to her with concerns in person, instead of disrupting a meeting.

“I think his actions were disrespectful,” Andreotti said. “It’s not appropriate to continue to yell during a meeting.”

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