UBE alters Bellamy amendment language
The University Board of Elections altered the text of a proposed amendment to the Honor Committee’s constitution before placing it on the ballot Monday, said fourth-year College student Jessica Hassanzadeh, chair of the elections board.
The proposal, put forward by second-year Law Student Frank Bellamy, sought to add informed retraction to the Committee’s constitution.
Bellamy’s original proposal — the one that was signed by more than 10 percent of the student body to get the measure on the ballot — said an “accused” student would be given the option of informed retraction. Honor’s bylaws define an “accused” student as one whom the Committee has fully investigated and against whom the Committee has chosen to formally bring charges.
The Honor Committee’s own reform proposal, which is listed on the ballot before Bellamy’s, offers informed retraction to an “informed” student, which the bylaws define as someone who has been reported for honor charges but has not yet been investigated. UBE made the decision to change the word “accused” to the word “informed” in Bellamy’s proposal to align it with the Committee’s proposal, Hassanzadeh said.
“The University Board of Elections is the arbiter of the ballot for student elections,” Hassanzadeh said. “In reviewing Mr. Bellamy’s submission and comments about his referendum, it was noted that Mr. Bellamy’s submission was intended to be consistent with the Honor Committee’s ‘Restore the Ideal’ referendum.”
Bellamy said he thought his amendment would have been able to be implemented as written, but he said he supported UBE’s alteration.
“I also believe this change is completely consistent with the intentions of the students who signed the petitions,” Bellamy said in an email. “The distinction between a report and an accusation was not presented to them when they were asked to sign and none of them inquired about it.”
Honor Committee Chair Stephen Nash, a fourth-year College student, said he is against the proposal regardless of the wording change.
“[The Honor Committee has] seen three to four versions of something that was called an informed retraction,” Nash said. “I personally find this sort of [language] in this [amendment] to be pretty vague.”
Fourth-year College student Elliott Oakley, president of the Students’ Honor Caucus, an organization formed to provide institutional support for those opposed to the Committee’s proposed Honor reforms, said he is also against Bellamy’s amendment. The vagueness of the proposal leaves too much up to interpretation by future Honor Committees, Oakley said.
“It would certainly be up to the Committee to interpret Bellamy’s constitutional change” Oakley said. “There is nothing in [Honor’s] bylaws [about] how they would do so.”
Oakley said his group, which attained CIO status Feb. 12, felt the concerns about international student visas and athletic scholarships were inadequately addressed by both informed retraction proposals.
Although Nash would not comment directly on UBE’s decision to change the language of the proposal, Oakley said he thought UBE had felt comfortable making the change because the Committee did not immediately release the exact language of its proposal after it passed the Committee.
“My main frustration with how these two proposals played out is that the Honor Committee did not release the text of this proposal immediately after passage,” Oakley said. He added that he thinks this may have prohibited a thorough response by students such as Bellamy.