As UA elections come to a close, Punch Bowl’s legislative correspondent and guest columnist Tom Nowlan reports on some changes to the electoral process.
In a long-anticipated move, Penn’s Undergraduate Assembly voted to double the number of representatives from the Wharton School, beginning in the 2015-16 legislative year.
The body’s bylaws now dictate that, during the annual apportionment process, each student enrolled in Wharton will be counted as two persons. Students enrolled in The College of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Nursing will maintain their current one-person status.
“This is a long-overdue change,” said Todd Smith, a Wharton representative. “It has been a long-understood truth that Wharton students carry an added amount of social and economic clout, both on and off campus. It is nice to see the UA reflect that fact legislatively.”
“This was a much-needed update to our body’s bylaws,” UA leader Jodie Lott said in a statement. “It was imperative that we make this edit to an archaic statute that did not reflect the realities of our diverse and unique student body.”
It is unclear if similar changes are in the works in the other branches of Penn Student Government, but the UA’s decision undoubtedly signals a major shift in how Wharton Students are treated by school administration.
Wharton junior and representative Hunter Binghampton III was pleased at the UA’s vote.
“In the real world, Wharton alumni carry substantially more political clout than the average American,” Binghampton said. “It’s nice to see that trickle down to us right here on campus.”
With the added representation in the UA, the Wharton delegation will likely be able to push through many of its core policy ambitions, such as mandatory Greek membership and the abolishment of financial aid.