Temple Student Government Senate failed to override the veto against the resolution declaring TSG’s support of the Temple Association of University Professionals and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at its final Senate meeting for the semester.
The Senate needed two-thirds of the senators’ votes to override the veto. The final vote in favor of overriding the veto was 14 in favor, two against and seven abstentions.
The Senate needed one more vote to achieve an override. Therefore, the bill was declared null and void.
“We keep talking about how this is like a government,” said Senate President Jeff Dempsey. “Sometimes you lose. Sometimes your vote doesn’t stretch far enough.”
The resolution was originally passed Nov. 17 with only one vote for abstention and no votes against. It declared the student government’s support for TAUP and AFSCME in the current contract negotiations.
The resolution stated TSG was not only an ally, but a subscriber to the groups’ principles.
Dempsey presented the bill as a sponsor of the Student Labor Action Project, which wrote the resolution.
Nadine Mompremier, student body president, vetoed the legislation later in the week. She cited procedural issues in the passage of the bill. She also noted senators did not discuss the resolution with their constituents.
“Your job is to represent the people in your school,” Mompremier said.
Mompremier said she did not think the senators had adequate time to discuss the bill, which was sent out two hours before the meeting, with their constituents. The senators heard the union positions at the meeting, but there were not representatives from Temple to rebut the union’s assertions.
Representatives from both unions and Sharon Boyle from Temple’s human resources department attended the latest meeting. Both gave their sides of the arguments during the call to audience portion of the meeting.
“Today you had a fair chance to hear from both sides,” Mompremier said. “I will respect any decision the Senate makes as long as they do the research.”
The senators posed questions to the union representatives and Boyle. They paid special attention to the union’s request to mandate that all Temple professionals pay a fee to the union.
Only members of the union pay a fee, although all faculty members are represented and receive benefits from the union representation.
The senators also asked about the differences between merit pay and pay for performance. Pay for performance is the new system Temple proposed to replace merit pay. Boyle said the criteria are promotion and tenure. The new system will also use peer review when discussing raises.
TAUP representatives said the system of pay for performance has not been adequately explained.
“They are asking us to agree to something that isn’t on the table and will be made afterwards,” said TAUP President Art Hochner.
Many senators said although they supported the unions and teachers, they did not support all their proposals.
The resolution stated TSG unequivocally supported all of the unions’ ideals and proposals. Since the bill was passed previously, it could not be amended. Any amendments would undermine the override.
“Doubt is a necessary evil. We can never rid ourselves of doubt,” Dempsey said. “We will always look back and try to see the outcomes had we acted differently.”
Other senators said their peers should vote based on the current facts and not be focused on the problems that may occur afterwards.
“I support the workers who keep this university going. My support is not any disrespect for the university,” said Dusha Holmes, senator for the School of Communications and Theater. “This is my way to make sure the right thing gets done.”
The Senate needed 14.6 votes for the resolution to pass. Only 14 senators cast votes in favor of override.
Mompremier said she was satisfied the Senate did the research and thought about the students they represented.
Dempsey said he is not sure if he will write another resolution because he does not want to create any rifts between the Senate.
“Division isn’t the way to be representative. I don’t want any schisms to make people uncomfortable,” Dempsey said.
He said although he lost, the Senate showed growth and legitimacy through this process.
“We can look at this as a glimmer of hope. Power is held within the Senate,” Dempsey said. “The power of change.”
Rebecca Hale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.