Logistics Interfere with Interterm Musical Referendum
By Brianda Reyes, Managing News Editor
On Dec. 10, 2010, the Association of Amherst Students was set to hold the vote for the interterm musical referendum. Due to problems with the e-mail that was supposed to be sent out that day, the vote was rescheduled for Dec. 13.

On Dec. 6, an e-mail was sent to the student body announcing that the musical referendum vote would be held on Dec. 10. This vote was to decide whether a referendum allocating $14,100 towards the interterm musical, Company, would be passed.

The constitution requires that an e-mail be sent out to the student body at midnight on the day of the vote, but Marissa Bates ’11, the only person with access to the listserv, was unable to send it.

“The vote was never ‘delayed,’” Elections Committee Chair and Senator Philip Johnson ’11 said. “The results of the first vote were deemed unconstitutional so we had to have a second vote.”

After nullifying the Dec. 10 vote, the vote was rescheduled for Dec. 13. The student body approved the referendum with a vote of 314 to 68.

Another reason that the vote was held late in the semester was because of miscommunication. The funds were first approved by the AAS in Oct. 25, but they could not be given to the musical right away. The constitution calls for a school-wide referendum vote when there is any allocation by the AAS that exceeds $10,000.

This vote was supposed to be held seven days after the AAS voted to fund the musical, but Johnson was not present at the Oct. 25 meeting and no one informed him of the fund approval and expected vote.

Johnson was not made aware of the need to hold the vote until Nov. 29. On Dec. 6, the Senate voted to reaffirm the funding approval and it passed once again. The referendum was then scheduled for Dec. 10, but then the other problems began.

The $14,100 allocation by the AAS for the interterm musical is used to pay for the stage director, lighting designer, housing for both of them, set building materials, costumes, lighting rental/installation, and musicians.

In past years, the interterm musical referendum has faced other problems. Last year, the elections committee had problems deciding how to word the email in a manner that would make it as objective as possible.

Another problem is that various people are involved in creating the e-mail for the referendum. Three different people are in charge of writing it, sending it and setting up the online form.

“The idea is to have some checks and balances so one person doesn’t have sole control over elections,” Senator Andreas Shepard ’11 said. “The downside is that with more people involved, there isn’t one person fully responsible for everything and there is more possibility of miscommunication.”

The AAS is looking for more efficient ways to send emails and hold the vote. They are also looking for ways to have more people sharing the responsibility of using the listserv for school-wide e-mails or reducing the amount of people in charge of creating these emails, and thus avoiding miscommunication.

“We are looking for ways to streamline the voting process so it happens in a timelier manner,” Johnson said.

Issue 12, Submitted 2011-01-26 03:48:22