Vote moved up to Thursday after Town Hall shows support for new constitution


By Benjamin Gamson and Molly Litvak

Drafters of the proposed new Just Community constitution decided late Wednesday that they would try to move up the vote to Thursday, after flash polling at Town Hall showed strong majorities favoring key aspects of the proposal.

Senior Sabrina Jahan, one of three students who had been working on the document since last spring, confirmed the change to the Boiling Point shortly before midnight.  Earlier, she had said the vote would be Friday.

“Based on how the Town Hall went it seems we are ready!” Sabrina wrote in a text message to the Boiling Point at 11:28 p.m. “So voting is set to happen tomorrow hopefully.”

But she said details had been turned over to the Fairness Committee, led by co-chair Gilad Spitzer and faculty adviser Dr. Keith Harris.

“I can’t answer any questions specifically about how the vote will be taking place, because that’s not in my hands,” Sabrina said in an interview after midnight. “In an effort to keep things completely impartial, we’ve ensured that members of the Fairness Committee — Dr. Harris and Gilad Spitzer — will actually be the ones to administer and take care of all the voting procedure… It’s not in the hands of the constitution squad.”

It was too late to reach them to learn what time Thursday voting would begin.

Attendance at Wednesday’s Town Hall ranged from about 67 to 106 over the course of the one-hour meeting. 

As key elements of the new document were discussed, presenters presented five “flash polls” in the Zoom meeting for people to say whether they favored or opposed them.

The first four were about issues of contention at the May 5 Town Hall, which the “squad” had worked to resolve in the days since.

Referring to a new committee that would decide whether proposals were allowed under the new constitution, it asked: “Are you in favor of the new definition of the Judicial Review Subcommittee (5 seats, including more voices)?” 

For that question, 93% of students, faculty, and administrators said that they were in favor.

The second question which said “Are you in favor of including a framework for councils (not creating any at the moment)?”  This new feature had weaker support in the flash polls.

But it was still strong — 78% of the people in attendance voted in favor.

The third question concerned the purpose of Town Hall.

 “Are you in favor of the following definition for Town Hall: “Town Hall is a forum, planned and run by the Agenda Committee, in which all members of the Just Community come together. While Town Hall is formally a space to facilitate the proposal as…”

Eighty-eight percent voted that they approved of that definition.

The fourth question, whether SAC should be added to the constitution, won 84% support.

The last poll was developed during Town Hall itself, after a discussion about whether students should be able to vote for the faculty representative on the Judicial Review Subcommittee. 

Just 42% said yes. meaning that a majority 58% of those voting at Town Hall, said no, meaning that only teachers will be allowed to vote for the faculty representative if the new constitution is approved, 

Evan Rubel, outgoing Fairness co-chair and a constitution co-author, told the Town Hall that since the document was being presented as an amendment and not a new constitution, it would require only two-thirds approval — not three-quarters, as required in the old constitution to ratify a new one.

“Based on the Town Hall that we saw today, the consensus is that the Just Community hopefully seems to at least be comfortable with the document,” said Sabrina, “or I would go as far as saying that even if they are not comfortable with it, we’ve changed it as much as possible so that people have a clear opinion on whether they want it or not.

“So people understand the document, and if they’ve had ways or suggestions to make it better they’ve voiced it, and no one has any more of those. So we have taken all of those into account already like we haven’t been getting any more recently or at the Town Hall either.”