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.”