The Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) Council held its first meeting of the year last Wednesday, where it approved an updated version of the Computer Science Undergraduate Society (CSUS) constitution, creating a VP Diversity position. Council also elected former SUS President Danielle Toccalino as Chief Returning Officer and set the date for the SUS Fall general assembly.
VP Diversity to investigate discomfort in the community
The newly updated CSUS constitution is meant to encourage member participation in CSUS by eliminating the requirement to be a computer science major to run for Council. The ratio of members to executives required for quorum has been reduced, and a VP Diversity position has been added. Additionally, a general assembly is no longer needed to change the constitution; it can now be changed by Council.
At the meeting, CSUS President Calem Bendell said that the position of VP Diversity was added primarily due to requests from students. At the end of last spring, when the constitution was being rewritten, six different people – four of whom were women – requested the creation of the position.
“Having a VP Diversity seemed wise when the people I discussed these issues with said they sometimes felt uncomfortable with the general computer science student body,” Bendell told The Daily in an email.
Bendell explained that the position will be more investigative, at least in the beginning. “The goal isn’t to make the student body more diverse – I don’t think there’s much we can do to directly affect that – but instead to make everyone who is already in the student body more comfortable. CSUS’ power to change this situation is unclear, but it should be thoroughly explored,” he wrote.
Other changes included a decrease in the required turnout at to pass a CSUS referendum from 30 per cent to 15 per cent of the constituency, and the elimination of “bureaucratic” rules and procedures, such as Robert’s Rules (a formal set of rules that govern parliamentary procedures), from CSUS proceedings.
General assembly and elections
Council set the date for the Fall 2014 SUS general assembly, which will take place on November 5.
In addition, the SUS extended the applicability of its electoral bylaws to the Freshman Undergraduate Science Society (FUSS) elections, which will begin on September 15; this was done in order to clarify the rules for FUSS elections. Toccalino will now oversee both SUS and FUSS elections procedures to make sure that campaigns follow the bylaws.
SUS Executive Revenue Officer Sibat Anam also informed Council that SUS has signed a contract dictating that Kaplan Test Prep will be the sole sponsor of SUS. Anam noted that this does not affect individual departments, who may sign contracts with other sponsors, dependent upon SUS approval.