On Wednesday night, Nadine Mompremier, president of Temple Student Government, sent an e-mail announcing her veto of a resolution recently passed by TSG Senate.
The resolution declared TSG’s alliance with members of the Temple Association of University Professionals and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in support of recent contract negotiations.
The Student Labor Action Project wrote the bill, and it was sponsored by Senate President Jeff Dempsey.
The resolution passed unanimously at Monday’s Senate meeting.
“To veto a bill that was unanimously passed speaks a lot,” Dempsey said.
Mompremier acknowledged that there was a lot of support for the bill, but she did not approve of how the resolution was passed.
She sent a list of her arguments along with the veto notification to the Senate.
Mompremier’s arguments detailed the procedures that were not followed in order for the resolution to officially be passed.
The resolution was not sent out by 9 a.m. on Monday. Instead, it was sent two hours before the meeting. By not passing the resolution before 9 a.m., the Senate violated a requirement cited in Article 2 Section 2.12 of Senate by-laws.
It was also read as second-read legislation instead of first-read. First-read requires the Senate to decide what committee the bill will go to, so it can be worked on further. Second-read requires debate and a vote. The Senate passed the agenda agreeing to count the legislation as second read instead of first.
“If you get mired in those [procedural] details, you’re turning your back on what is important,” Dempsey said. “You have to take a stand and not hide behind procedure.”
Mompremier argued because the legislation was passed two hours prior to the meeting, senators could not discuss it with their constituents.
She said senators would not be able to know how students felt about the contract negotiations.
“It is my job to make sure the Senate accurately represents the student body,” Mompremier said.
Dempsey said there is a level of trust between students and the senators who represent them.
“I feel as if my Senate as a whole has been sullied,” Dempsey said. “They were called stupid in so many words, which I think was abhorrent.”
Mompremier said senators did not have the time to research both sides of the arguments.
Senators did not have more time prior to the vote to research both TAUP and AFSCME platforms.
“You have to take into account both sides. It’s about fairness, and it’s about integrity,” Mompremier said.
Representatives from TAUP, AFSCME and SLAP attended the meeting where the resolution was passed.
Mompremier said their attendance may have pressured the senators to vote quickly.
Mompremier said she believed the senators did not think about all the implications that could come from this resolution.
The possibility of the university’s tuition increasing in order to pay for union raises was one of her concerns.
If this were to happen, she said it would seem as if TSG supported an increase in tuition.
“It isn’t about not supporting the issue. It’s about the way we support it and taking in all sides,” Mompremier said.
Dempsey plans on fighting the veto in an emergency Senate meeting, which will occur after the Thanksgiving break. He mandated a cool-down period so the senators would not let their anger decide for them. The veto can be overturned if two-thirds of the Senate votes against it.
“I will fight for this resolution because it is the right thing to do,” Dempsey said.
Rebecca Hale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.