Highlights from the ‘New’ Constitution

“The new constitution was passed by the 53 out of the 56 residents who attended the EOGM held on the 3rd March (Tuesday). Therefore, the JCRC presidential elections will be held this semester. Please note that only the post of President & Vice-President will be in contention.”

jcrc-electionsFor further enquiries, please contact Election Committee Head, Ng Huey Shin at u0602516@nus.edu.sg or 96168971.

Part IV- Election of the President and Vice President of the JCRC

Article 16. Eligibility of Candidates.
To be eligible, candidates should have a minimum residency of two consecutive semesters prior to the application.

Article 17. Procedure.
(a) The President and Vice-President are to be elected on a joint ticket.
(b) Any other procedures and requirements are to be determined by the JCRC with the endorsement of the SCRC.

Article 18. Term of office.
(a) The term of office of the President and the Vice-President shall last from one AGM to the next consecutive AGM.

Article 19. Removal.
(a) The President and/or the Vice-President can only be removed from office at the discretion of the Master.

Article 20. Contingencies
(a) In the event that the office of the President becomes vacant, the Vice-President shall assume the office of the President. A new Vice-President shall be appointed by the President.
(b) In the event that the office of the Vice-President becomes vacant, a new Vice-President shall be appointed by the President.
(c) In the event that both the offices of the President and Vice-President become vacant, fresh elections shall be called to elect a new President and Vice-President.
(d) The Master may appoint an Interim JCRC at his discretion in the event that both the offices of the President and Vice-President becomes vacant.

Part V- Appointment of the President’s Cabinet

Article 21. The President shall appoint the remaining members of the JCRC.

Article 22. Composition.
(a) The President may appoint a maximum of 10 additional members, bringing the total number of JCRC members to 12.
(b) These appointments shall only become effective when the Master agrees to them.
(c) In the event that the President wants to appoint more than 10 additional members, permission must be sought from the Master.

Article 23. Removal.
(a) All appointed members hold office at the President’s pleasure.
(b) The Master may review and reverse any decision of the President to remove an appointed member of the JCRC.

Article 24. Term and duration of JCRC members.
The term and duration of appointed members of the JCRC are to run concurrently and are contingent upon the term and duration of the offices of the President and Vice-President.


14 Responses to “Highlights from the ‘New’ Constitution”

  1. 1 shahzadsk
    March 7, 2009 at 4:07 AM

    I don’t think this is democratic. I understand that in recent years the number of candidates has been very little leading to problems in forming a JCRC, but I don’t think this is the solution.

    1) If the Pres and Vice Pres are elected on joint ticket that does lead to continuity but it has its issues. Firstly due to the nature of hall stay about 50% (I think) of seniors are turned over – which means that the Pres and Vice Pres can in effect represent only 25% of the entire population of the following year.

    2) A bigger issue of contention is Article 21 the formation of the rest of the JCRC. If the president is to appoint and/or SELECT the remaining members, this leads to the chance of an even SMALLER proportion of residents being represented. Eg. if the Pres and VP are running on a joint ticket, they are more likely than not to be good friends. If the Pres is to choose the rest of the JCRC they too will be someone he is more comfortable working with (i.e. more likely to be friends with) thereby leading to the possibiilty that somewehre down the line the JCRC will be a group of friends representing the entire hall.

    3)If the Pres and Vice Pres happen to be local, and the above holds, the chances of international students being represented in the JCRC will be greatly reduced.

    As for these reasons and more, I think a few more changes need to be made.

  2. 2 Wai Kit
    March 7, 2009 at 5:13 AM

    I feel very uncomfortable with the fact that the residents are only given the choice to vote for the pres and vice pres, and the fact that the pres can select whoever he prefers to constitute the rest of the JCRC.

    1. This is not democracy. Though there is not much democracy in Singapore to begin with, do we have to resort to changing the fundamental democratic spirit of the constitution just because we have a lack of people willing to contribute and join the JCRC? If I’ve not mistaken, even in the US, the members of cabinet (though chosen by the president) were people’s representatives at the start. They were chosen by people even before they have the chance to be part of the cabinet.

    2. Like what Shahz mentioned, there is a very high likelihood that the hall populace in general will be ill-represented. The structuring of this constitution seems to assume that all residents in hall will have a very good eye in choosing their president, and hence the president will naturally have a good eye in choosing his team that will fairly represent each of the cultural, admin, and sports sectors in hall. We have examples of not-so-good presidents who won the seat in the history of KEVII, in the case which this happens, what will happen to the hall if we the residents only have the power in choosing two out of all the members in JCRC? A constitution built on such blind trust is also fundamentally very weak and hence might one day lead to discontent among CCA leaders of certain sectors because of initial distrust and predispositioned misunderstanding that there might be biased treatment since the JCRC were not chosen by themselves, people who they deem fit as the leader of leaders.

    3. If the removal of the JCRC can only be done under master’s discretion, what is the role of the residents and the proper rules in channeling their dissatisfaction (and wish to overthrow)the JCRC if there is ever such a situation in the future? No clear statements have been put forth in the constitution regarding this.

    There is also another grey area which I have had in my mind for a long time. The timing and weight of votes. I noticed that there is always a slight problem in the election being held at the beginning of the academic year. At that time, 50% of the hall will be freshmen who do not even know the nominees well and hence many times some of them just vote blindly or be swept of their feet by sweet words of unworthy nominees because they have no prior experience in hall and hence the ability to discern the feasibility of such empty promises. I understand that it is only fair that elections should be done at the start of the academic year because those will be the people staying in hall for the remaining of the year. With the dilemma in mind, shouldn’t the seniors have a higher weight in their votes? This is just my suggestion I think would be worth pondering by current residents.

  3. 3 shahzadsk
    March 7, 2009 at 5:48 AM

    Another scenario that could take place under the current format:

    1) Imagine four persons named A, B, C and D for convenience purposes. All the aforementioned persons are good friends but are not percieved the same in terms of respect and popularity by rest of KE7. In fact, Person A is extremely popular and well respected and suppose that the respect and popularity diminishes significantly from A to D. Hence Person D is not at all popular and is disrespected.

    2) Suppose Person C and D want to run for Pres / Vice Pres but are well aware of their respective reputations and popularities. As such they ask Person A and B to run in their stead.

    Person A and B win the elections but never had any intention to actually run for Pres/Vice Pres.

    3) Under Article 21, Person A uses his power to select JCRC including Person C and Person D

    4) Person A resigns due to some reason –> Person B takes over as Pres (under Article 20) and SELECTS Person D as Vice Pres.

    5) Person B resigns due to some reason –> Person D becomes Pres (under Article 20) and SELECTS Person C as Vice Pres.

    End result is Person C and Person D in Pres/Vice Pres even though hall would have probably not elected them.

    Admittedly this is an extreme scenario, but it CAN happen.

  4. 4 TC
    March 7, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    I believe that this is a chance for the hall to try something new with regards to the election process. Most of the previous JCRCs are formed this way anyway, with the JCRC Presidential Candidate approaching other residents to run with him.

    The a/m scheme would work provided that that the Elected President performs his/her role well. Which means that he/she assembles a diverse team transparent to personal friendships. However, much trust lies with the Elected President. Which is why it is important to vote wisely and get the best people to run.

    I would suggest that the Elected President introduce his/her team at the start of the sem and ask for a vote of confidence for every single member. In this way, the member of the JCRC would be forced to be accountable to the residents. They are, after all, not working for the President but the Hall Residents. This would also give the hall residents to know the other JCRC members better. However, this is not in the constitution and would have to done willingly by the JCRC. I do strongly believe that this vote of confidence is the fundamental first step for any JCRC.

    This system was created such that Master would be able to step in if the need arises. In extreme situations, the hall residents could always seek Master’s help. In the past, Master has taken an active role when the system mechanisms fail. I wouldn’t worry too much.

    KE Eternal!

  5. 5 Jer
    March 7, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    Any policies/constitution put in place should reflect the idiosyncratic differences of our hall. It is not possible to just import an external policy/constitution “wholesale” and apply it to hall. I of course agree that we must learn from working examples from outside. However, we can never just take one solution and never adapt it, in fact the situation might not even been conducive for such a solution i.e there might be other factors. My point, while it might seem very appealing to think of and work towards ideals like democracy, there is also a need to be faithful to local circumstances.

  6. 6 buddhima
    March 7, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    Agree with TC. A vote of confidence for all the JCRC members would be a good thing. All the sports and comm’s etc in hall have to work with them so it is only fit that there is some form of feedback from the hall leaders/seniors/residents.

    The JCRC should be representation of the residents in hall, along with the blessings of the SCRC. The whole JCRC, not just president and VP. I guess from their view point, they need to find people they can work with to form a good JCRC, but they have to understand who they’re representing in the first place; the residents. So I believe the best form of compromise would be a vote of confidence yeah? Just my two cents worth.

    Presenting them at dinner to make hard-to-hear speeches is optional though :P lol

    Also, what is the definition of a ‘ticket’? Just wondering. What % of the residents voted to pass this amendment to the constitution btw?

    PS – Shaz, how the hell did you come up with that situation!

  7. 7 KK
    March 7, 2009 at 5:29 PM

    I will feel unfortunate if residents can only vote for P/VP. Just a few more points added:

    1. Under this system, there might be mismatch between the talent and posts. Some people may be suitable for only one post, eg. sports sec. However, the elected president may not know or may not want him or her to be the sports sec. And he will lose the opportunity to run for himself. Another case is that if passionate enough he might instead choose to run for P/VP so that he can secure one post in JCRC. Either case shows a mismatch.

    2. I would prefer the election is conducted at the end of the academic year instead of beginning. One of the reasons is that all CCA leaders usually come out with their new leaders at the end of the AY. If JCRC election is done during this period, there will be much more for JCRC and all CCA leaders to communicate. And there will be more time, especially the long holidays, to think of ideas on how to improve resident life and how to cooperate better. Another reason is that seniors, no matter graduating or not, have stayed with all the candidates for at least one year. They definitely have a better view of how the candidates have been doing during the past and know whether they are suitable for any post. Though in the end only around half of them will remain in hall next AY, a population of all seniors is more representative than a population that has the same size, and half of which are freshmen who at the beginning of the AY usually have no idea how good or bad their senior are doing. I am not sure how shahzadsk came out with ‘25%’. And I believe that Wai Kit agrees with me in this point to some extend. He suggested that senior should have a higher weight in the votes. However, the problem is that it is difficult to find out such a balance. Also, juniors will feel sad if they know they have to vote for very important posts but at a lower weight, meaning less important, when they just move into hall for one or two months. It will have much less trouble if you just give them equal right when they ‘become’ seniors (at the end of their first AY).

    3. Other responses:

    TC/buddhima suggests a vote of confidence every certain interval. I think Raffles Hall implements this idea. But the problem may be more about execution. It will largely increase administrative costs if you force all residents to vote, like vote for JCRC. If it is not forcing, I am afraid that voting rates will not be satisfied and results will hence have less meaningful implications.

    For the cut off rate of voters to pass or let the amendment take effect, I believe it is a similar kind of rules like pass AGM minutes. Just a minimum number of residents present (maybe around 50) and then pass it. Well it is another representation problem. Even within those who are present for the meeting, they pass it by 100% or all vote against it, the minimum sample is only about 10% of the whole population. Whether the sample is representative or not? We have no idea.

  8. 8 shahzadsk
    March 7, 2009 at 9:00 PM

    I came up with 50% by using this simple equation: If the Pres wins by 51/49 and 50% turnover. Then assuming that the 50% of hall who leave are independent of their support (or lack thereof) for Pres/Vice Pres, the next year it will only represent 51% x 50% which is about 25%

    Cheers :)

  9. 9 Carnage
    March 8, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    Hey All!

    Ok this is an informal setting so i shall not try to be too technical over here.

    Ok, the elect sem 1 or sem 2 thing is rather arbitrary. Both also can. Master actually initially shared the same concerns with shaz and WK. But after feedback from the ground and certain incidents (yeah, you know what i’m referring to), it was finally unanimously decided that it was better to give residents who have stayed at least about one sem and have seen the leaders at work to have the voting rights instead of ignorant freshmen.

    And if everyone has so little confidence in the pres and vp, then dun vote him or her. if they have confidence, then why question his or her choice in the JCRC? Also, no worries about misrepresentation in JCRC and wadsoever not. EOGMs can always be held by residents to come to a common consensus to push the matter to master if the JCRC is really “weak”. It is also better to have master with the overall power to dismiss the JCRC. Imagine a good JCRC who because of certain good proposals had no choice but to make 50 unreasonable residents unhappy and they band together to call for an EOGM and with that majority, dismissed the good JCRC. Very lame right… better to have master hold the overall rights and residents recommend.

    Regarding buddhi’s idea of the vote of confidence, that idea was pushed out initally but it was decided not to make it formal in the constitution – the new JCRC can choose whether to do it or not. no point wasting everyone’s time if we know most people are ok with the team, the SCRC prefers the team to spend more time solving hall issues then campaigning. If the team is not sure about the hall resident’s opinions on them, feel free to hold the VoC. If they are ignorant enough not to hold and still elect in “lousy” members, good luck to them, we forsee an EOGM called by the residents.

    I just realised that TC has already addressed some issues. So feel free to read his condensed version rather then this one. :)

  10. March 8, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    wow! so happy to see so many comments here.

    I share the same thoughts as many of you. In my humble opinion, having the election at the end of the 2nd sem is a better choice, mainly because the votes are casted by those who know them or worked with them for an AY.

    And I too agree with TC for asking the P and VP to introduce their team during their rally. from there the residents can tell how strong the team is, and how well are they represented. However, from my experience of counting votes for the past few years, I personally think that VoC is not a necessity because most people will either void it or vote for, WHEN THERE IS ONLY ONE CANDIDATE. So… maybe I can suggest to have a ‘Vote of Preference’ only when there is someone who would like to run against the appointed Secretary. After all if we still aren’t satisfied with the appointed Secretaries, there’s still the last resort of calling for an EOGM when >50 ppl signed the petition.

    My very personal view of the election is that: not only the secretaries, when there is nobody else running for P or VP, I would suggest it to be a walkover. I think being a JCRC is more of a sacrifice (studies, friends, other CCA & hobbies), than an honour. Who are we to judge how good a person is when we ourselves just want to stay in our comfort zone.

    Lastly, I am a graduating senior, for my 4 years in hall, I dare say I had done my best to pass down all the knowledge that I had learnt from my seniors to my juniors. For this I believe in them to know how to choose what’s best for them. and I think many of the concerns stated here had already been debated many times among themselves. Have some faith in them, and you will be surprised their wisdom may be beyond our wildest imaginings…

    P/S: this is only meant for those in hall: For those KEVIIans who are in hall, if you have so many questions that you would like to voice up, why weren’t you there at the EOGM last week, or at least asked someone to help clear your doubts?

  11. 11 Buddhima
    March 9, 2009 at 2:20 AM

    lots of good points brought up by everyone :) I guess the P and VP elect should bring out their team. if it’s not ready yet, they can just voice out their plan. just to keep things transparent and to keep residents in the know. no harm in that right?

    now I do agree that VoC would be a waste of time, after what was pointed out above. nothing to do with elections, but maybe JCRC should run a performance survey at the end of each sem, to see how they’re doing? try to get everyone involved

    and I totally agree, lets have some faith! it’s also a learning process after all. I’d just hope that you really do care for KE and what it stands for, irregardless of if you were in JCRC or not.

    Incoming P and VP, anything you guys would like to share with us? :)

  12. 12 Wai Kit
    March 9, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Hmmm… Interesting…. I wish to know the nominees too=] After all, I might be coming back to stay in hall (and vote) the next sem.

  13. 13 YL
    March 12, 2009 at 2:51 AM

    By having a presidential election in sem 2, it gives all KEVIIans who care for KE a chance to have a say in the leadership that they would like to see in the new academic year, whether they would eventually have the privilege to be led by the eventual elected. It is definitely a thumbs up and I believe would better representation of the hall’s current and projected aspirations, as compared to having half a population carrying a half-hearted effort in choosing the hall’s leadership if it is to be held in Sem 1. Refering to Wai Kit’s suggestion of a “weighted” rights for seniors if the elections are held in Semester 1. I think this will only give unusual heavy voting rights to seniors that may represent only certain fragments of the hall population, which might instead add to the bias in votes and loss of interest of freshies in hall politics (since their pie in the total vote is smaller).

    On a side note, it’s heartening to see so many people leaving comments here regarding the presidential elections. I bet that out of the above who has left comments, the majority are 1) graduating seniors, 2) already graduated seniors. So let the seniors who still have a heart for KE have their last say before they leave!

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