The bill passed by Fairfield University Student Association Senate by a vote of 11 ayes to 6 nays and 1 abstention, which would require a member of every executive board to attend each General Senate Meeting was vetoed by President Danielle Rice ‘19 on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
In a letter to the FUSA Senators, Rice explained why she vetoed the bill. “Whereas I am in support of, and in agreement with, your desire for open communication between the Executive Board and Senate, I do not feel this bill is the most effective means of accomplishing this necessary communication,” Rice wrote.
In the letter, Rice indicated her desire for a meeting between herself, Vice President Matthew Marshall ‘19, Speaker of the Senate Noelle Guerrera ‘21 and Secretary of the Senate Angelica Miceli-Kaya to come up with a solution to the issue.
“I am planning to meet with her to find another way to promote more transparency and communication throughout FUSA, without the mandate,” said Guerrera of the meeting with Rice. “One idea is that Senate will now request a representative of a specific Exec Board to be present at a specified Senate Meeting to report any updates.”
Senator Ali Haidar ‘21, the sponsor of the bill, was not as optimistic as Guerrera. “Rumor has it that the Executive Branch wants a non-bill compromise,” said Haidar, “which is something that many senators and I won’t settle for.”
One senator who spoke against the bill, Charles Cooper ‘19, indicated that he opposed the specific wording of the bill, because he thought that having a member of every executive board present at GSMs would take up too much time at the GSMs and expressed support for Rice’s veto.
“I am not sure why this bill was so controversial,” added Haidar. “When I wrote this bill, I tried to make it as lenient as possible without putting too much pressure on the Executive Branch.”
Junior Jennie Toutoulis, Director of Marketing & Public Relations for FUSA, provided an executive branch statement to The Mirror regarding the proposed meeting between Guerrera, Miceli-Kaya, Rice and Marshall. “I am confident that after this meeting, we will not only have an update, but a positive solution that will benefit all of FUSA,” said Toutoulis.
Students have picked up on this controversy as well. Six students commented on the @FUSA47 Instagram post of Rice signing the other resolutions passed at the Jan. 31 GSM, asking what happened to Bill 55-002. One user posted, “where is the post explaining vetoing a bill that passed 11-6? #transparency.”
Haidar also mentioned pressure on FUSA senate to drop the issue.
“The Senate has been called ‘petty’ by individuals who will not be named here but have significant influence over FUSA affairs,” said Haidar. “I mean no quarrel towards any individual of the Executive Branch, and I do not mean to fight with the president or vice president. All I ask for is what the Senate and our constituents ask for: transparency.”
The Senate could still override the veto with a two thirds majority vote at the next GSM on Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lower Level of the John A. Barone Campus Center. Guerrera mentioned, “From what I have heard from some other senators, is that they are close to having the vote numbers for an override.”
Editor’s Note: Haidar has previously written for The Mirror’s Opinion section.