SGA Constitutional Changes Questioned

SGA Cab­i­net dis­cusses changes to constitution

Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion voted on many con­sti­tu­tional changes March 24, one of which would have taken away the stu­dents abil­ity to pop­u­larly vote in the president.

After the sen­ate went over new busi­ness, stu­dent Tay­lor Teng­wall spoke out against some parts of the changes.

He was very con­cerned over one of the key points in the changes which would have made it so the pres­i­dent would not be voted in by pop­u­lar vote by all the stu­dents but instead would be voted in as a sen­a­tor by peo­ple in their respec­tive aca­d­e­mic pro­gram. From there the sen­ate would elect who would be the “pres­i­dent of the sen­ate.” The idea was to insure that the pres­i­dent was knowl­edge­able on how Roberts Rules of Order, and that the elec­tion would be based on abil­ity to pre­form the job to the best extent and not turn into the clas­sic “pop­u­lar­ity contest.”

Pop­u­lar­ity con­test? More like democ­racy,” argued Tengwall.

Sen­a­tor Kyle John­son, who helped write the changes, said that the pres­i­dent cur­rently has the power to stop all of SGA in its tracks as well as SUFAC and all the stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions that depend on it.

Pres­i­dent Gra­ham Garfield said that cur­rently the pres­i­dent does not need to go through the Sen­ate for much of any­thing at all and they wanted to put more power in the hands of the Sen­ate. He also men­tioned that other schools do it this way.

I don’t like the sys­tem where one per­son and their VP have all the power,” Garfield said.

After a 10-minute recess, Sen­a­tor John­son pro­posed a new amend­ment: “Change the pres­i­dent of the sen­ate to a popular-elected posi­tion, strike the 3/4ths no con­fi­dence removal vote, and remand the pro­posed model back to cur­rent model regard­ing elec­tion process for the pres­i­dent only, all other pro­posed changes will remain the same.”

The amend­ment passed 12–0-1 (one sen­a­tor abstain­ing). Next they voted on the con­sti­tu­tional changes and it passed unan­i­mously. The Inter­nal and Exter­nal com­mit­tee as well as the pres­i­dents cab­i­net had voted on the changes unan­i­mously ear­lier this March.

When review­ing the bylaws they dis­cussed one part that would allow stu­dents to run for both sen­ate and pres­i­dent at the same time. The by-law passed 10–2-1.

The rest of the bylaws were passed unanimously.

All the con­sti­tu­tional changes are await­ing Chan­cel­lor Wachter’s signature.

Other con­sti­tu­tional changes include empow­er­ing lead­ers to be account­able to their peers, cre­at­ing checks and bal­ances that keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning even in the event of an incom­pe­tent chair.

A power-point explain­ing the rea­sons for the changes as well as them said “the SGA shall con­sist of three branches; the Leg­isla­tive, Leg­isla­tive Exec­u­tive, and Stu­dent Judi­cial Branches. — Arti­cle III sec­tion 1.

The sen­ate will have three stand­ing com­mit­tees:  Stu­dent affairs, SUFAC, and Stu­dent Judi­cial. Stu­dent affairs will replace Aca­d­e­mic Affairs and will be a com­mit­tee to address all mat­ters affect­ing stu­dents. Stu­dent Judi­cial is an appro­pri­ate renam­ing of the Inter­nal and Exter­nal Committee.

The pres­i­dent will not hold veto power or power of appoint­ment for SUFAC and Judi­cial chairs. Chairs can be replaced by a 3/4 vote of no-confidence, but will remain as sen­a­tors. Direc­tors will be renamed chairs and liaisons and vice-directors will mostly become clerks.

GPA require­ments are going to be in “Good Aca­d­e­mic Stand­ing” to pre­vent GPA dis­clo­sure to students.

Sen­a­tors will elect the most impor­tant lead­er­ship posi­tions from mem­bers of the senate.

Elected lead­ers will be both Leg­isla­tive Exec­u­tives and mem­bers of the senate.

SUFAC Chair, Stu­dent Judi­cial Chair (I/E) and Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore (new VP) will still vote in Senate.

These lead­ers will not vote when they chair com­mit­tee meetings.”

 

 

Image cour­tesy of Felic­ity Bosk — The Stinger
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