Amendment defeated by narrow margin

Legislation proposed by political science chair to increase accountability.

By a one-vote margin, University Senate defeated an amendment that it had passed a month earlier.

The amendment, proposed by political science chairman Joe Losco, required all senators' votes on substantive issues be recorded and published in the campus media.

Losco said the amendment was designed to improve the Senate's accountability.

The defeat was a double blow to Losco, who saw his amendment accepted by a vote of 23-19 last month, only to be defeated minutes later because of a procedural rule.

"We did have a roll call vote of one today," Losco said. "This was a vote against accountability. It will increase the cynicism that is already felt toward this body."

However, Senate chairman John Emert, whose vote made the final count 23-22, echoed the concerns of other opponents when he said the amendment could stall legislation.

The amendment never specified what issues would be substantive, leaving the door open for discussion on any issue in the Senate, Emert said.

Even if issues were substantive, a roll call vote might not be necessary, Emert said. He was referring to legislation Senate did pass at its Thursday meeting.

The legislation was substantive, according to Emert, but only three people voted against it. Because of this, Emert said, a roll call vote would have been futile.

"From a practical point of view, that would have cost 10 minutes," Emert said.

Currently, any senator can ask for a roll call vote, and they are taken when an oral vote is not clear. However, oral votes are always used initially.

"I hope we do have a roll call vote a couple of times," Emert said.

President Brownell, who was there to field questions from the Senate, abstained.

However, before the amendment was debated, Brownell told the Senate he admired Purdue University's Board of Trustees for raising tuition in order to help fund a five-year plan to reshape the school.

According to the Associated Press, the board raised its tuition by 24 percent on Nov. 2 to help hire more professors, increase faculty salaries and cut class sizes.

"No one will meet any substantial goals with only state allotments," Brownell said.

He said he met with Doug McConkey, vice president for student affairs, earlier about tuition and other funding issues.

"This will require a lot of thought," Brownell said. "What you want to do at the end of the day is what's best for the university as a whole."