Constitution Convention

Students Debate the Dowling Committee's Report

Next week students will be asked to vote on the Dowling Committee proposal for restructuring student government, but in the past few days a committee formed to discuss implementation of the plan encountered difficulties resolving the most important aspect of the new government--how its potential $60,000 in funding would be dispersed among student organizations.

Although the Dowling proposal calls for abolition of groups such as the Student Assembly and the establishment of a centralized government body, many current student representatives have viewed the funding provision as the heart of the plan because existing governing bodies have been plagued by their lack of independent funding.

Under the Dowling plan, students would receive a $10 term bill surcharge to fund the new student council, but $6.50 would be refundable upon individual request.

The proposal, however, leaves open the question of how this money will be awarded to student organizations. Largely in response to this fact, organizations such as the assembly formed the constitution committee to decide the budget issue and other implementation questions.

But the constitution committee itself possesses no official power. It can propose for student body approval a constitution for the new student council just as any other group of interested students could.

But the likelihood that no other student committee will make the effort to draw up a constitution means that next fall, students will have only two options: accepting the constitutional committee's plan, or rejecting it and winding up with a student council operating for some time without a fixed constitution.

While the constitution committee managed to settle on a plan which would create a loose tie between the new student council's budget committee and the rest of the government's structure, important issues such as funding for student groups--particularly the Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS)--remain. Despite the large task still ahead of them, committee members said at week's end they were confident of completing a constitution by the end of the semester.

At an RUS meeting this week, members decided not to accept a compromise that their president and representative to the constitution committee, Elisabeth M. Einaudi '83, had negotiated.

That compromise would have given RUS partial discretion over the funds that women would be required to contribute to the council, while insuring that the council would have enough money to operate effectively.