Today the students took over and began convening as a convention. Several students have experience with Model UN and/or Model Arab League, and they immediately proposed that “the ancient text of Robert’s Rules” be used as their procedural rules. So far so good.
There was actual debate over the issue of a chair and a scribe (the term the delegate/student used). Ultimately it was decided to have the chair be the scribe, and to select a new one each day. I think that’s not a good method, other than that it limits any one delegate’s ability to get too powerful. We’ll see how it works out for them.
It was then proposed and agreed to that the delegates would go around the table, introduce themselves, and express their state’s main concerns. The disputed borders that some states share immediately emerged as one of the top concerns.
Following this there was a lull, and I wrote in my notes that everyone seemed at a loss as to what to do next. Side conversations were beginning, and initially I thought they were just chatter. And perhaps initially they were, but as I listened, I realized they were quickly becoming serious discussions between 2 or 3 delegates. To my right two delegates were discussing the internal control problems of the one’s state (Vandalia, which has uncontrolled mountainous areas, where clans raid into neighboring states), and what might be done about it. To my left, the student from Champlain, which has competing governments, was pleading for support for his claimant government in winning the civil war against the other claimant government. Every delegate present was involved in a conversation except for that one, who I’ve never been pleased to have in a class–who was texting and entirely unengaged, after having arrived late.
Another delegate asked for a 5 minute recess, which the chair granted, and the two of them then hurried out into the hallway to caucus in private, only to return in a few minutes, grab another delegate, and return to the hallway.
I admit I didn’t know just what was going on, and was a bit bemused that they weren’t working as a body. But just before the day’s session ended, two delegates at the far end of the table announced they had signed a written agreement to resolve their border dispute. Sangaman (comparatively well consolidated politically, and with some extant industry) would keep their trans-Mississippi territory, and Nodaway (wholly lacking in industry and electrical production, and not yet politically stabilized) would drop its claim. In return, Sangaman would provide industrial consultants, use some of its industry to produce windmills for Nodaway, and would provide peacekeepers to help with the upcoming election, to ensure its fairness.
Meanwhile, the delegates in the hall returned for the adjournment of the session, and in talking to others revealed they also had been working on resolving a boundary dispute. They had not completed a deal yet, but it looks as though it will involve an agreement to draw the boundary down the the middle of the disputed territory, and some other exchange of value, not all of which I caught, but part of which included access to Chesapeake Bay ports.
This is smart of the delegates to get some items off the table so they don’t bog down the convention, but I hadn’t anticipated it. And I intend to put a bug in Nodaway’s ear about whether he’s really comfortable letting another state insert troops in his state. This could return as an issue if they start talking about a joint, union-level, military.
As the session concluded, the delegates agreed to meet Thursday, despite my absence. I like that.
I wonder what I’ll miss.